I’ll come back to the housing thing in another blog, as you might imagine, there’s more to the story!
Meanwhile, Mum and Dad had got quite involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Group, which is a charitable organisation which funds research into all types of Muscular Dystrophy and supports the families affected by it. By this time they had found out that the closest specialist hospital was in Manchester, so we went there to get more help and information.
I was given exercises to do which were supposed to help me stay mobile, keep my muscles stretched, but mainly I think to keep the OSO thinking she was doing something to help! These exercises were pretty boring and I couldn’t see much point in doing them and in all honesty, I was too young to really take on board why it was important to do them.
The OSO then decided she was going to try and help make it easier for boys such as me to do these boring exercises; yes, you’ve guessed it! ( If you have been reading my previous blogs you will know by now that Mum was going to spring into action.) So she decided it would be a good idea to make a ‘fun’ video incorporating the exercises which would encourage boys to do them. So she spoke to our old friend Bernie Clifton to see if he and his Ostrich would help, of course he said yes.
Mum then talked to a couple of her work colleagues who were lecturers in the drama department. She also set a meeting with lots of physiotherapists who worked with MD boys such as me to make sure they all agreed on the exercises (that took a bit of time I’m sure!)A script was then written which included Joey the clown and Bernie and Oswald the Ostrich. The video was to be called; wait for it, ‘Oswald’s Antics’ catchy title or what!
Joey was one of the drama students at the college and he was filmed with a story line doing the exercises with Oswald in a fun kind of way and to be fair it was pretty good.
The video was then made properly and voice overs and credits and all that kind of thing that the filmy, dramery people do and it was then sent round the country for MD boys to use.
It was a great success and proved to be very popular.
It sounds, in the telling, that this all happened very quickly, but as you may imagine, it took absolutely ages to sort out and plan and prepare, but it had the huge advantage of giving the OSO something positive to do for a while!!
Everyone was great about doing this and giving their time for free.
Bernie at the time was in a children’s television programme at the BBC called ‘Tricky Business’.
Mum had an idea about making a children’s programme like a sort of Blue Peter that had people in it with disabilities. At that time, disability was still rather shoved into the background and people such as me were never seen on the tv as being ‘normal’. If you know what I mean?
Anyway, Bernie thought this was a great idea, so he fixed up a meeting with one of the top children’s tv producers at the BBC for him, Mum and the lecturer from college who had help make the ‘Oswald’s Antics’ video. (it does help when you have friends in high places!)
The OSO had a great day out in London at the Beeb! She was dead excited ‘cause when they went into the canteen for lunch with Bernie she sat at the next table to Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders! Bless!
The upshot was, that the producer really liked the idea of the programme, BUT thought that the viewing public were not yet ready to see people with disabilities in their front rooms on their tvs! Ah well, it was such a good idea, but a bit ahead of it’s time; ‘cause as you know, now there are loads of disabled people on and presenting tv programmes all the time.
At the time, the OSO was disappointed, but yes, you guessed it, she soon moved onto what she could do next!