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Metrobus unveil new poppy bus at West Sussex Poppy Appeal launch

Metrobus’ new poppy bus was officially unveiled at the West Sussex Poppy Appeal launch at the Wings Museum in Handcross last Saturday (October 27).

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It’s particularly poignant given that November 11 is the centenary of Armistice Day, which marks the end of the First World War, as well as being Remembrance Sunday. The bus will also take part in the Armistice Day procession in Tilgate Park, Crawley, when the millennium beacon will be lit.

The launch began with a two minutes’ silence and an introduction by Bruce Forbes, the Chairman of Mid Sussex District Council. The family event included a poppy making workshop and live music, with an accent on the 1940s and fifties, and the Copthorne Silver Band.

Michael Richardson, Ron Woolley, John Grantham and the Angel Delights (singers).

Metrobus will be giving veterans and serving members of the armed forces free travel on Sunday November 11, as a small thank you and a mark of respect.

Metrobus’ Managing Director Martin Harris said:

“The poppy bus honours the memory of the millions of soldiers killed in the terrible conflict of WWI but the poppy is also a potent symbol of the sacrifices made in all past conflicts.

“Above all, the remembrance poppy symbolises hope, the hope that we can create a more peaceful world in the future and the belief that this is the best way to honour those who fell. This message is as relevant today as it was in 1918.

“We hope the poppy bus will help raise money for the vital work the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal does for veterans and serving men and women in our armed forces.”

The poppy bus will serve Metrobus routes in the Crawley area, as well as attending official events.

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Crawley boy receives pioneering kit to help with his disabilities

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Eleven-year-old Theakston Lee-Watson is among the first recipients of innovative new equipment to provide disabled children with sensory activities in their own home.

Theakston, from Crawley in Sussex, received the equipment from Caudwell Children as part of a UK-first charity campaign to deliver sensory equipment and support to disabled children across the country.

The sensory pack will provide a range of therapeutic benefits for Theakston, who has autism and sensory processing disorder, helping him regulate his emotions and develop his motor skills. 

Theakston’s mum, Kitty Lee-Watson, has already noticed the benefits the equipment brings.

Kitty said:

“He has a lot of anxiety at the moment, I now have the sensory pack out on his bedroom floor so when he has a meltdown it’s easy to guide him to something or distract him. This has been a real help.

“Theakston’s favourite part of the Get Sensory pack is the Fibre Optic Light as it’s both visual and tactile. He likes touching the fibres.”

Caudwell Children has pledged to provide thousands of families with essential sensory equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic – with each family receiving a pack of appropriate and safe toys to support children living with a wide range of disabilities. 

Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, said:

“Our Get Sensory Packs are designed to support children who are likely to benefit from sensory resources – it’s so encouraging to hear that Theakston is enjoying using the equipment and his family can see the benefits already.”

“We’ve committed to provide thousands of families with a pack, because we know it’s difficult to access resources at the moment.

“To deliver on that we’re now calling for anyone who can to make a difference to the life of a disabled child by donating to our Get Sensory Packs campaign – you can make a life-changing difference from just £5.”

Caudwell Children launched its Get Sensory Packs campaign following consultation with parents to find the most appropriate and safe sensory items – selected by the charity’s Occupational Therapists.

The packs include:

  • A Liquid Cell Timer,
  • Scented Bubbles,
  • A BoBo Massager,
  • Sissle Brush,
  • 4 Ball Massager,
  • Weighted Cushion,
  • Spikey Domes,
  • Space Blanket, and
  • A Fibre Optic Lamp.

Packs are available to children who have a confirmed disability or chronic illness. Families can apply directly to Caudwell Children for support, with the charity providing 80% of the cost of each pack.

Families will be asked to contribute 20% of the cost, which is £20, and to confirm their financial status and their child’s diagnosis. More information is available at getsensorypacks.com.

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