MK Heroes 2002
This Page tells the story of MK heroes 2002, when I got through
to the final five finalists.
September 11 2002
Unknown to me, Mum and Dad sent the following email to BBC Three
We would like to nominate our 12-year-old son, Matthew Alden-Farrow,
as one of Milton Keynes’s Heroes. Although what he has achieved
has not directly benefited just the people of MK, rather people
the World over, we wanted to share his story with you anyway.
Matthew has the disability Dyspraxia that causes him difficulty
with many aspects of daily living. Dyspraxia is poorly understood
and sufferers are often labelled as clumsy, lazy, stupid etc. Matthew
is home educated, having suffered torment and bullying at school,
because he is ‘different.’ His experiences inspired
him to ‘make a difference’, so a year ago he set up
a website, where he has written an honest account of how life really
is for someone with dyspraxia, how he copes and about the impact
of bullying. Through his site, which has had over 6000 visitors,
he has succeeded in raising awareness of dyspraxia and bullying
and has offered hope to others that they can achieve, despite dyspraxia.
He receives countless e-mails, from the UK and around the World,
from adults and children affected by dyspraxia and/or bullying.
Many of the e-mails are asking for help and support, while others
are just to thank him for giving them hope, through sharing his
story. He replies to every single one with maturity, offering encouragement,
friendship and where he can, help. This, even though for Matthew
producing written work requires much greater concentration and more
time than for someone without dyspraxia.
The address of Matthew's website is www.matts-hideout.co.uk
if you wish to see what he has produced.
They sent the email, hoping but not expecting that I would get
September 24 2002
Mum received a phone call from Karen Shrosbery at BBC Three Counties
radio. The news? I had got through to the final five finalists of
MK Heroes! Karen told my mum that the judges had been blown away
by my story. My mum told me later on that afternoon. I was ecstatic!
I felt excited about meeting the other finalists and making some
new friends. I also felt determined that on the night of the award,
I would stand up for people with dyspraxia.
September 25 2002
Karen Shrosbery came round and interviewed me about my website.
Before she arrived, I felt very, very nervous. First of all Karen
explained what was going to happen and congratulated me for getting
through. Then we went up stairs and she recorded me describing my
website and explaining why I set it up, as well as taping me reading
out an email. I was surprised at how little equipment Karen had.
I had expected my room to be taken up by large pieces of equipment.
However, she only had a tape recorder and a microphone! Then she
interviewed Mum and Dad and took some photos of us for the BBC website.
September 30 2002
My interview was played on Mk Breakfast, BBC Three counties radio.
I was impressed at how Karen had edited my interview, taking two
completely different parts and making them sound like I had said
them together. In other words, it was a big improvement on what
I had actually done! It was a bit embarrassing hearing my voice
on the radio. My voice is so high pitched it's unbelievable! I saw
mum had tears in her eyes when the interview was over. She was proud
of me but thought her voice sounded awful too, which I know it isn't!
October 4 2002
During the week, the other finalists interviews were played. I
was particularly interested in Frank Smith's interview. Frank has
set up a charity to help support relatives of people with dementia,
a disease which causes loss of memory and makes the sufferer confused,
so they may not recognise members of their own family or remember
anything about themselves.
So the voting began, but of course, I couldn't do anything about
that. I just had to cross my fingers and hope that all three of
my fans would vote for me!
October 9 2002
Karen was back again, this time with a cameraman in tow! They filmed
me doing every day things such as cleaning my teeth, looking up
something on the map, me on my computer looking at my website, even
playing with the kittens on my parents bed! It was strange doing
my everyday things in front of a camera, but after a while I got
used to it. I was trying to pretend the camera wasn't there, so
it was good practise for my acting!
October 22 2002: The big night!
The big night arrived! Dressed in our best clothes, the family
arrived at The Stables Theatre in Wavendon. We were greeted by Karen
and Laura Moss, who introduced us to some more members of the Three
Counties team, including Nick Lawrence, Toby Friedner, some of the
news readers and the webteam.
During the champagne (ok, orange juice!) reception, Frank Smith
came over and introduced himself.
After the champagne reception, we were ushered into the auditorium.
Toby Friedner came on stage about five minutes later and the first
thing he did was ask if he could take a photograph of the audience
for the website, which he did.
First up, my interview was played
and the film of me was shown. I went up on stage to wild applause
from the 200 guests. I was really nervous. Toby handed me a golden
envelope with £100 worth of vouchers and four tickets to see
the pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre. He asked me what was the
best thing about setting up my website. I said that setting up my
website had allowed me to get a huge weight off my chest and the
best thing for me was that my experiences have helped others.
The other four finalists were interviewed. Then, the big moment
had arrived. I crossed my fingers for Frank, as I thought the deserved
the award a lot more than I did. The winner was as a lady called
Jill Moss, who set up a charity to help Young People with M.E.
When I came out of the auditorium, I was fussed over by a lot of
people who wanted my website address and all the ladies from Three
Counties Radio asked me to give them a kiss, which made me feel
rather flattered, so I obliged!
The evening was rounded off with a band called the Peartree-Bridge
Family. They were really loud. And when I say loud I mean LOUD!
Karen came over and said that she was looking for a dancing partner.
I was feeling in a good mood, so I went and had a dance. Fortunately
there was a bit of space near the band, because most of the guests
were at the back of the theatre, to save their ear drums, so I didn't
crash into anyone!
All too soon the evening ended and we had to go home. I said a
final goodbye to the Three Counties radio Staff and then we left.
It was a wonderful evening and I will never forget it.
That evening, I met a lady called Debbie Sellers, who works for
MK web and she kindly ran my story on the MK website and I now have
a link on there. So my website is now reaching even more people.
I also found out about Shed MK, which is a performing arts group
which accept children regardless of their religion, their ability
or disability or their social background. They charge a very small
fee of a pound a week, and if you can't afford that, they will still
accept you for who you are. They don't ask you to be perfect, all
they ask is to try your best. Shed MK are part of the performing
arts club "Chicken shed". We have sent off a form and
are just waiting to hear if I have got a place. In London, they
currently have a waiting list of 3000 so this a huge opportunity
for me, so I have everything crossed that I will one of the lucky
one's who are lucky enough to get a place.
I have been invited to visit the Three Counties Radio Station in
Luton. I am really excited and am looking forward to seeing Laura
again and learning how a radio station broadcasts smoothly!
Some Photos from the slideshow
Maintaining this website
Working at home
Giving Sam a cuddle
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3rd January 2003
BBC Three Counties