Our Annual Family Weekend Speakers are one of the highlights of our flagship event. Each year incredible stories and experiences are shared by wonderful role models in our community.
High profile personalities, Paralympians, athletes and many wonderful members of Reach have told their story and shared insights into their lives.
Read on for links to inspiring interviews, presentations and short films from the Virtual Family Day in October 2020 and the Family Weekend in Bristol 2019.
Alex is an Ambassador for Reach, and a returning inspirational, and at times an emotional speaker to our Family Weekend. Alex shared more anecdotes with Alastair Greener about his varied television career and the more recent BBC documentary Disability and Me.
Alex chats with Alastair from his garden shed answering members questions along the way. “All my conversations I’ve ever really had about being a disabled man, I’ve had on telly. It’s a really strange thing, and it makes you feel quite exposed. But at the same time, I really hope that the audience take something from the fact that it is so, so personal.”
Lauren is a 3 Time Paralympian & Rio Silver Medallist, and also the current World & European Champion – a title which she has won 3 and 6 times respectively.
Lauren’s brilliant interview with Alastair looks at her enormously successful sporting career, looking to Tokyo and her other more recent challenges in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins and her Strictly Come Dancing journey.
Winner of the 2019 Christmas Star Baker, and 2018 semi finalist in the Great British Bake Off, the wonderful Briony demonstrated two yummy recipes, pizza and chocolate orange cupcakes with her gorgeous daughter, 5 year old Nora as one of our virtual workshops!
Briony chats with Alastair about up and coming projects with Food Unwrapped, her connections with Reach when she was growing up, and pictures sent in by members of their cooked up creations!
Miles shared a wonderful presentation full of stories about his life, how he overcome many challenges and how he pushed himself to achieve.
Miles was born with upper limb phocomelia (very short malformed arms) caused by the drug Thalidomide. Miles has an ‘everything is possible’ attitude and his varied careers, personal achievements and film very much prove this. Alastair continues the conversation with questions from members.
Reach member and returning inspirational speaker Jennie, continues to share her career journey and the exciting direction her own experiences have lead her to be involved with today. Jennie’s film will resonate with many, and continues with a fascinating chat with Alastair who shares questions from members.
Reach member Max Swinhoe, a Freelance Copywriter, was born with an Ischemic Contracture of the left arm. Max’s beautifully shot film shares her rise in confidence and passionate approach to help raise awareness for the limb difference community. Max answers questions from members and chats with Alastair.
An informal discussion with our wonderful Ambassadors, Frank Letch MBE, Mayor of Crediton, Claire Cashmore MBE, Olympic winning British para-triathlete and Alex Brooker, TV presenter.
Click here for more information about our Ambassadors.
The power of social media, our panel are online Influencers, raising awareness, empowering others who have upper limb differences to be proud, be yourself and embrace difference.
Join Liv Chapman, Ella Dickinson and India Sasha Atkinson in conversation with Alastair Greener.
Click here for more information about our Influencers.
Up and coming young Reach athletes will be discussing their chosen sport, challenges and their aspirations!
Join Robert Donald, Rebecca Scott, Meghan Willis and Rhian Hughes in conversation with Alastair Greener.
Click here for more information about our talented Reach Sports Stars.
The panel discuss mental health issues that may affect Reach children and their families including the strain of mental health because of COVID.
Join Occupational Therapist Clara Price, Educational Mental Health/Wellbeing practitioner Sally Siggs and newly qualified Occupational Therapist and former Reach National Coordinator Jo Dixon in conversation with Alastair Greener.
Speakers from the Bristol 2019 Annual Family Weekend
Baylee Abbott – REACH Member
REACH member Baylee, who is now 15 years old was born with a condition known as Oro Mandibular Hypogenises syndrome which is a medical term to describe her condition with missing feet, fingers to one hand and a cleft pallet. Baylee has had 7 operations in her life and from the age of 9 has spoken out against people pointing at staring at others with a visible difference. As winner of the Reach Sue Stokes award in 2014 Baylee has since gone on to give talks to Doctors, Politicians, Property Developers & Schools
Dorothy Cowie – UCL Plasticity Lab and Durham University
BOLDkids (Brain Organisation in Limb Differences) examining everyday behaviour and brain development in children with limb differences. Despite their missing limb(s), children with limb differences develop remarkable motor skills, making use of different body parts to independently explore the world. We are particularly interested in how these unique motor skills and adaptations interface with brain plasticity as the children develop
Amy Marren – REACH Member
Amy was originally taught how to swim by her grandfather in 2002. At the age of 14, British Para swimmer Amy became the SM9 200m individual medley world champion at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships. At the same championships she also won gold in the S9 100m butterfly as well as being a part of the British women’s relay teams who won both the 4x100m freestyle relay and the 4x100m medley relay (which broke the existing world record by 6 seconds, set by Great Britain in 2011). She also won silver medals in the S9 100m backstroke and the S9 100m freestyle in both races. Amy also won a bronze medal in the 200m Ind. Medley at the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, after only qualifying for the GB team by 0.2 seconds. Since April Amy has now decided to represent her home country of Ireland and her sights are set on winning a medal in Tokyo.
Samantha Bradnock – REACH Member
My names Samantha and I’m 21 years old. Born with a limb difference, I have been part of REACH since I was a toddler. I was born in Devon and recently moved to Hampshire for my Midwifery training. I am in my third and final year of studying at Bournemouth university where I hope to graduate as a qualified midwife in September 2020. I will talk a bit about my training and am happy to take questions.
Claire Cashmore – REACH Ambassador
A seasoned Paralympian, Rio 2016 was Claire’s fourth Paralympics and most successful to date. She entered the world stage at only 16 years old, qualifying for Athens and coming home with 2 bronze medals, a bronze at the games in Beijing in 2008, and a further 2 silvers and a bronze in London 2012.
London 2012 saw a big boost in Claire’s profile as she was chosen to be one of the faces of Channel 4’s hugely successful Meet the Superhumans campaign – she was featured on billboards nationwide and in a number of adverts on Channel 4 speaking candidly about her disability.
Claire’s performance in the pool at Rio 2016 was impressive. With experience under her belt, she won silver in the SB8 100m breaststroke and her first gold in the 4 x 100m medley relay.
Claire is a great ambassador for disability sport and regularly gives motivational talks to children and adults.
David Hill – REACH member
David was born with no left forearm but was brought up to believe there was no such word as can’t. Through hard work and passion, David went on to represent Great Britain at the highest level for 15years. David is a 2 x Paralympian in Swimming & Triathlon, World & European Medallist, British Champion and was TeamGB’s Youngest Athlete at the Athens 2004 Paralympics and Top 10 Finisher in the Rio de Janerio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Open Bionics, Mags Millar and son Cameron – REACH members
Turning disabilities into superpowers! Joel Gibbard is CEO and Co-Founder of Open Bionics, a prosthetics company based just around the corner here in the centre of Bristol. Joel co-founded Open Bionics with Samantha Payne in 2014, and the company launched their first product, the Hero Arm, in the Spring of 2018. The Hero Arm is the world’s most affordable multi-grip bionic arm, and is available for children as young as eight years old, and adults too. Joel and the team are working with prosthetics clinic to fit users in the UK, Ireland, USA, France and Spain, with more countries coming soon. Joel is joined today by 11-year-old Cameron Millar and his mum Mags. Cameron is a Reach member and was one of the first children to receive a Hero Arm. Cameron has had quite a year as he became the first person in the world to receive Star Wars covers for the Hero Arm, followed by TV interviews and a special message from Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself.
Amy Roskilly & Hero – REACH member
Having started her career as a journalist, Amy now works as a primary school teacher and a writer. She lives on the Welsh border with her husband, two daughters and various animals. Her Reach child, Hero, is now three and was diagnosed with symbrachydactyly in the womb before being born without her right hand. In 2016 Amy began a blog exploring the thoughts, feelings and experiences of raising a child with a limb difference.
Orla is a nurse practitioner, of children with appearance related concerns, as part of both the paediatric psychology and liaison service and plastic surgery team at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh since 2012. For many years before she worked as a paediatric nurse in the plastic surgery department at the hospital, laterally as a nurse specialist. Her interest has always been in the long-term psychosocial outcomes for children with visible differences wherever on the body that difference may be. She works closely with Consultant Hand Surgeon Mr Wee Lam and Specialist Hand Physiotherapist Anne Jerman.
Film currently unavailable.
Mitt Wearables (with Hero – REACH member)
Nathan Macabuag is Co-Founder of Mitt Wearables and lead designer. He leads Mitt’s product development. Nate completed a Master of Mechanical Engineering Degree at Imperial College London in 2018.
Mitt Wearables was founded with the mission to make simple, affordable and easy-to-use prostheses accessible to all. Over the last three years Mitt has been developing a new type of prosthetic limb. By following a user-centred design process, we’ve created what real users have told us they want – comfortable and affordable prosthetics. A Mitt arm has a soft, comfortable socket that can fitted by the users themselves in seconds. We have created an ever-growing range of simple to use tools – each specific to people’s desired tasks. This makes the devices completely customisable, much lighter, easier to use and brings the cost right down. At Mitt we think it’s really simple; we start with the user and work backwards to the technology. This mindset has led us down a very different path to what we saw going on in the industry, and towards a design that is incredibly user focussed.