It was with much sadness that I received the news of Bryn's passing. His son  Ian brought his dad to see me on the penultimate Saturday of his life .
As he was sitting  in the passenger seat of Ian’s car, he told me that he only had a few days to live. I drew up a garden chair and he offered his hand which I held for a full 15 minutes whilst we reminisced about our time together as Editor and Production Editor of the Chimes from 2000 to 2007.

In 2000 The Chimes almost ceased to exist when a meeting to find a new editor was held in Linton Village Hall as no one had come forward to fill the post. 
Around 70 people were in attendance and after lengthy discourse stalemate was still in place. Having been involved since its inception some 12 years earlier, I offered to take on the task as  I didn't want it to fold, but on the proviso we put in an appeal in The Chimes magazine which was already prepared to go to print. 

From this I received two phone calls offering to help, from two people I did not know. One was Bryn - a recently retired front line paramedic who had bought a computer as a hobby in his retirement. The other offer was from someone who was already working with computers . 
We held a meeting at my house and the other person  felt that thiis  would be an ideal opportunity for Bryn to put his hobby to sound use and how right he was.

Living at Phocle Green, he had The Chimes delivered and was familiar with its 30 to 40 page a set up. We got on so well that we shared holidays together with our wives.
An added bonus was that Jan - Bryn’s wife, was a fine artist and responsible for many of the excellent  covers, which had previously been provided by Clair Hodgson I still have  the 70 issues which we produced  during our time together.

As Production Editor he was responsible for its format and as his computer skills grew,  he certainly made my task  much easier. By his own admission, being in  the limelight was not his scene, and he preferred to stay in the background, but  he was certainly the engine room of our magazine. 
He would even find room for information  coming in on slips of paper as well as all the good work sent in by our excellent village representatives. We would meet at his house to tie up loose ends before sending the magazine off to  print.

There is little doubt that Bryn was a key factor in the continuation of our magazine following its near demise. I will  be eternally grateful for his enormous contribution, but most of all for a wonderful family friendship.

Ken Downham



They say that “Charity begins at home”, but when my late husband Roy and I moved here to Lea in 2010, we found there was nothing close to home which offered the knowledge and support we needed, and so we set up our own charity instead. Although Roy passed away just two years later, I have retained the same format in order to replicate the support and interaction required by disabled persons when needed. Let me explain.

You don’t know what support or information you need until presented with a situation where you lack experience or knowledge, and so when Roy was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA in 1998) we did our own research. It’s a rare condition but many of its attributes are seen in regular disabled people with lesser complications. The key was always to think six months ahead, so that when the next decline in ability began, we were prepared. What equipment is available? How is it accessed or purchased? Do you need advice or assessment as a Carer/ disabled person? Is pain management required? Are you maintaining good mental health? Consequently, we decided to form a charity for Herefordshire that would answer these questions not just for us but for those in similar circumstances.

Our plan was to hold quarterly events, invite anyone with an interest in social care whether professional, in authority, Carer, or other service user. The topics each time would cover various aspects of disability, being physical, emotional, learning or sensory as with all, there are mutual issues. By March 2011 Herefordshire Disability United (HDU) was an official charity, with a committee of disabled officers and funding from Hereford Council. Roy also created a website which even then functioned so that those with sight impairments could access it. This was the basis on which HDU has blossomed. Funding since has been from other sources.

Funding enabled a dedicated phone line, paid for venues and speakers plus the “FREE” buffet lunch which is always included at events. We found an accessible hall in Central Hereford so residents/ volunteers across the county and beyond might attend. This has been a great success and is incredibly essential still today.

HDU offers disability training, access audits, general advice and signposting and much more. Our regular audiences include commissioners, social workers and care staff, officers from local authorities, carers, and family members. We have knowledge on Autism and Aspergers, Strokes, sight impairment, caring, mental health, assessments, PIPs (Personal Independence Payments) etc.

The only change since Covid reared its head is that we are concentrating on “virtual meetings” but still maintain our dedicated phone line to talk through problems or offer advice.

Whatever your situation, please don’t struggle on alone – the help you might need is here.

Support us and see how we can support you - visit www.herefordshiredisabilityunited.org.uk

Sylvie Nicholls

Chair of Herefordshire Disability United (HDU)           

Copy deadline for December edition - Saturday 7th November