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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 Counties Radio:

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.

Helen Alden-Farrow

They sent the email, hoping but not expecting that I would get through.

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 Radio