Here are the wonderful winning entries for Turning the Page. For more information on the competition, please visit this page.

Sara, 18+

I tried hard to listen as I sat there in the doctors office.

Yet all i could hear were the words, “She cannot” or “ she won’t be able to”.

It was as if the diagnoses had defined the rest of my daughters life for her.

Leaving her nothing to achieve or to experience.

Thankfully the doctors may have known the syndrome but they didn’t know my daughter.

“Never say never” became our family motto and my goodness did that girl live it.

I’m sure she took a mental list of what the doctors said that day, all those things they said she couldn’t do became her targets, her goals.

She didn’t let us in on her secret just surprised us each time when she defied the odds.

I loved watching the faces of those she surprised.

“She won’t walk again” became “oh my goodness she is walking.”

“She won’t eat solids again” turned into “pass her the burger”.

It was never about her weaknesses, her inner strength made sure of that.

A person should not be defined by their disability.

We should never look at the limits but to the possibilities.

Its about “never saying never” as who really knows?

I left the doctors office with the sound of defeat ringing in my ears.

My daughter left with the same sheer will that had kept her fighting for so long.

We learned the words “we cannot” were to be banned from our vocabulary.

We replaced them with “how shall we”?

Camping, rock climbing, ice skating are never words one associates with a child in a wheelchair yet my girl she achieved them all. Higher is better and faster is certainly more fun.

Life was to be lived thats for sure.

Best friends, boyfriends, how many nights did I cry myself to sleep believing these were never to be for my daughter.

Yet she had them all.

Her smile and mischievous nature won hearts wherever she went.

Doctors were speechless,.

Dreams was again to be dreamed.

Inspirational, determined, pure stubborn that was my girl.

This amazing young lady showed us that courage has no bounds.

That with sheer will and determination amazing things can be achieved.

“Never say never.”

Our girl never did.

Nicola McQuaid 18+

When I was first pregnant, I imagined spending long summer holidays in Norfolk with my child as I had done in my own childhood.  I envisaged my child running in and out of the sea, splashing and laughing with carefree abandon. I pictured sandy picnics in the sun baked dunes, windy boat trips to see the seals. I dreamt of Autumnal walks a small soft hand in mine, cosy pub lunches by a log fire. The salty, marshy smell of the mud flats and mussel beds. I imagined hearing you call me Mummy.

Before my daughter was born,  I did not think about accessibility, tarmac surfaces, wide entrances, the fact that you cannot, however hard you try, push pull or drag a wheelchair far on dry sand or deep gravel paths.

I did not think about pureed food, giving medicine in syringes in a public place, nowhere to change the nappy of a grown child, drinks taken with difficulty from a baby’s bottle, how difficult dressing might be and the impossibility of wellies, cries in place of words.

I did not think about the wheelchair not fitting in to a small country pub, about feeling in the way, apologetic.

I never imagined you not being able to feel the mud ooze between your toes, slipping and sliding as you walk over the salt marshes that ebb and flow with the tides and seasons. Not being able to run amongst the pine trees flanking the dunes collecting fir cones. Not being able to trek out across the vast expanse of sand revealed by the retreating tide nor leap over the bubbling ripple of waves.

I did not think about not being able.

But now that I have, I know that in your wheelchair on the staithe I can place a crab line in your hand, dangling the sodden bacon filled net listening to the gulls and the slapping of the tidal estuary against the thick seaweed covered posts of the landing stage.

I know that you enjoy sitting in a pub garden looking out over the saltmarshes.

You can for now, be carried into a boat to sail out to the seals basking on the sand banks.

I know that for now you can be held with your feet in the stream to feel the icy ripples tickle you into exuberant laughter.

I know that you enjoy the sounds of putting coins in a slot machine in the touristy seaside town, the sugary smell and sweet taste of candy floss.

I know that I can push your chair to the edge of the sand and lift you down so that we can make a sandcastle together and watch the others walk to the sea in the distance. Together we do a lot of watching and looking. Together we are learning everyday.

Lucy Collins, 12-17


Never normal,
Bullied, Broken, Abused
And ignored.

They never noticed,
Never cared,
In the job for the money,
Left alone.

More than once,
They’ve given up.

Self harm became ,
Life preservation.

Someone finally noticed,
Turns out its Autism,
Part of a new,
Category of normal.

Still mentally unfit,
Moved away,
Hoped for change,
Mainly in myself.

Still seeking answers,
To my never ending,

Books became a safe haven,
Crazy sports a release to freedom,
Outside alone and peaceful.

Watching the crazy fade away.

It  all came crashing down,
The fits started,
No control,
Just a life of crazy.

Answer’s started emerging,
suspected borderline personality disorder, Oh the joy.

Emotionally Unstable.

The question came about,
“If it could be changed should it ?”
Those things make up me,
you cant and,
shouldn’t change that.

Its looking up,
I am not a failure,
I am not crazy,
I am not a liability,
I am just me ,
And that is the best you can be.

In the end normal is non-existent,
In reality,
Happiness is a relative term,
No-one is happy all the time,
It comes in fleeting moments,
with the loss of inhibitions,
Those moments of pure happiness,
Are what makes life worth living.

There bad days and good days,
I accepted that and its okay with me,
Because I have moments of ,
Pure Happiness.

Lauren, 5-11

my name is Lauren but I like to be called Lolly. I am 11 and have some disabilities. I like to be just like the other kids in my class  and do the things they do. Sometimes people are horrible to me and call me names . I choose to ignore them even though they hurt my feelings. I am jus the same as them . I go to school . I can read ,write and love to sing my heart out .Just because I am disabled doesn’t mean I am different .

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