A dad’s desperate search to replace his autistic son’s beloved “little blue cup” has ended – after the manufacturer stepped in to make a lifetime’s supply.
Marc Carter’s plea to find a replacement sippy cup for son Ben was retweeted more than 12,000 times.
The 14-year-old has only drunk from the double-handled vessels, which are no longer produced, since the age of two.
Tommee Tippee said it will produce 500 cups after it searched factories worldwide and found the original mould.
The firm’s attention was drawn to the family’s plight when Mr Carter launched the Twitter appeal to find a replacement.
His original plea prompted offers of help from as far away as Australia.
Mr Carter, 42, said the response from well-wishers had been “incredible” and it was a “huge surprise” to be contacted by the manufacturer.
Mr Carter said: “For me it’s massive. Some people think I’m exaggerating but without it he doesn’t drink so personally I’m very relieved.”
Tommee Tippee will send the cups on demand for free to the Carter family.
Mr Carter said: “I would not be happier if I won the lottery. We’ve moved down to the middle of nowhere and don’t want much.
“Just knowing he has got these cups gives us peace of mind.”
Northumberland-based Tommee Tippee does not normally keep the moulds but had been searching factories around the world in the hope of finding the original plans.
A spokesman said: “We are delighted to confirm that we are able to start production on a run of the original cup.
“This will ensure that Ben has a lifetime supply and that his family won’t ever have to worry about finding another cup for Ben.”
Mr Carter, from Devon, told the BBC his son has had his current blue cup for three years, but it is now falling apart and may only last a few more weeks.
He said: “This tiny blue cup dictates our life.”
I’ve been watching Eastenders with interest and enjoyment for about four years now. During that time, it has done a very good job of representing disability positively. It has several disabled characters. Donna Yates is my favourite, and one, Janet Mitchell, even has her roots in Walford royalty. Even Jane Beale is currently in a wheelchair, and you couldn’t get a much more popular Eastenders character than her.
Some of Eastenders‘ recent positive disability related storylines have even brought humour to the very serious points they have been making.
However, Tuesday night’s episode ruined all that progress. Tuesday night’s episode ruined all my pride in Eastenders for its disability representation. Tuesday night’s episode took Eastenders’ disability representation back thirty years.
How? In the worst possible way, using two popular, beloved Walford legends. Ian and Jane Beale.
Jane revealed her fears to Stacey Slater that Ian no longer finds her attractive since the accident that has left her in a wheelchair. When Mick Carter asked Ian how his relationship with Jane is going, Ian responded “She’s in a wheelchair!” He added that Jane doesn’t need him bothering her, but for me the damage was already done. In those two minutes, Eastenders represented a very old fashioned, outdated attitude towards disabled people having romantic and sexual relationships. Much to my sadness, the attitude that Eastenders represented on Tuesday night was the very opposite of the attitude they represented last year, when Donna Yates had a one night stand with Fatboy Chubb.
I know that there is one very big difference between Jane Beale and Donna Yates. That is that Donna Yates has been disabled since birth, while Jane Beale has been disabled for about a year and became disabled in middle age. However, to me, that difference makes the way this very important issue has been covered through Jane even worse.
Through Ian Beale, Eastenders sent out a very negative message to disabled viewers, in particular to wheelchair users and viewers who have become disabled later in life. Through Ian Beale, Eastenders sent out the message that non disabled people will be unlikely to want a sexual relationship with wheelchair users, particularly those who have become disabled later in life. Worst of all, through Ian Beale, Eastenders sent out the message that becoming disabled changes a person’s life in very negative ways, and that it could even lead to the end of their marriage or long-term relationship.
The opinion that Ian Beale revealed in Tuesday night’s episode of Eastenders is exactly the sort of opinion that led the parents of many disabled people I know to worry that their children would never find love or get married. However, that was when I was growing up, in the 20th century. This is the end of 2016, not the beginning of 1985, when Ian Beale first stepped onto BBC1 in Eastenders‘ very first episode.
I have long ago realised that disabled people do fall in love and get married and have children, too, even if they haven’t been disabled since birth. I have long ago started to think that the opinion that Ian Beale revealed in Tuesday night’s episode of Eastenders is an old-fashioned, outdated one.
Eastenders is one of the UK’s national institutions. It has a massive audience, and as a result, a great power to influence the attitudes of that massive audience towards the issues it covers. It has the power to change the minds of that massive audience about the issues it covers.
In fact, Ian Beale himself is a national institution. I knew about him before I had ever properly watched Eastenders. So he himself has the power to influence Eastenders’ audience through his words and actions.
I have been physically disabled since birth. Now, as a disabled adult and a disability rights campaigner, I make every effort every day to show the world that life with a disability doesn’t have to be negative. Most of all, I make every possible effort to show the world that becoming disabled doesn’t have to mean the end of the life someone had before.
I am deeply disappointed that Eastenders, a national institution with such a great record in positive disability representation, and so much power over its audience, has covered such an important disability issue so negatively. In two minutes of storyline, it has done the exact opposite of everything I work hard to do every day.
As a disabled viewer, I would ask Eastenders to remember its power over its audience at all times. I would be very pleased to see it return to positive representation of disabled people and our issues at the earliest opportunity.
A disabled dancer is taking legal action after he was banned from an event over claims his wheelchair damaged the dance floor.
Fred Walden, 54, says he was humiliated when staff at a Jive Addiction event last October told him to stop dancing.
He is suing the company for discrimination under the Equality Act.
The company claims its policy, which bans anyone using an object that damages the floor, is not discriminatory.
Mr Walden, who lives in Oxford, has been a paraplegic since an accident in 1984. Before that, he had been a keen disco and Northern Soul dancer.
He started dancing in his wheelchair 15 years ago and travels the country going to jive, blues and swing dance events and competitions. It has become a really important part of his life.
“I think if I hadn’t found jive dancing I would probably be dead,” he said.
“It’s very easy if you are paralysed to put on a lot of weight, especially in the winter when I used to suffer chronic chest and kidney infections. With dancing, as well as getting the exercise, I get out and meet lots of really, really lovely people.”
Last October, Mr Walden was at a dance event and competition organised by Jive Addiction Limited in a west London hotel when he was told to stop dancing by a member of the company’s staff because his wheelchair was damaging the floor.
Mr Walden, who dances with able-bodied partners, said he had never been stopped before and initially thought it was a joke.
“I was taken to an area of the dance floor I hadn’t been on and shown a black scuff mark which rubbed off easily,” he said.
“I explained that my wheelchair has been specially constructed for dancing with able-bodied partners and was fitted with wheelchair sports tyres that are specially made not to leave marks.”
An evening out dancing with friends had gone very wrong.
“I felt anger and embarrassment because I am there with people I want to dance with,” he said.
Not only was he being prevented from enjoying himself, it felt as though he was being accused of vandalism as well, he said.
Mr Walden is suing Jive Addiction for discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.
He is seeking a declaration that the company acted in breach of its obligations under the act, an order that it should comply with its obligations, and damages for injury to his feelings.
The company declined to comment, but in its defence, seen by the BBC, it says its policy stops anyone damaging the dance floor with any object, and denies that it is discriminatory.
Mr Walden’s solicitor, Chris Fry from Unity Law, disputes that.
He said: “It’s a fundamental misunderstanding about the Equality Act that having a policy which treats everybody the same is compliant. It isn’t.
“The act encourages companies to think about the outcome of that policy.
“If you have a policy which says wheelchair users are not allowed on a dance floor, then essentially you are preventing disabled people from participating in this activity.
“It’s a breach of the Equality Act because it’s discriminatory.”
Mr Walden believes dancing with able-bodied partners says something powerful about integration.
“When you see things like the Paralympics you get a great feeling, but it is totally segregated activity.
“When you try to integrate with everybody else on the same level, you know you will still possibly come up against real problems.”
Mr Walden has received letters of support from nine companies that put on dance events in the UK. He is determined to see his legal battle for integration on the dance floor through to a conclusion.
The case is expected to come to trial next year. In the meantime, Mr Walden says he will keep dancing.
There was a time when the idea of one Paralympian on the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year shortlist was a cause for celebration here at Same Difference.
Thankfully, that’s no longer true. These days, we just list them. This year, there are three:
Sophie Christiansen – Equestrian, Kadeena Cox – Athletics/Cycling, Dame Sarah Storey – Cycling.
Same Difference sincerely congratulates them all. Dame Sarah Storey is on the list for the second time in our memory.
We also send sincere congratulations to Paralympians Tom Hamer, Ellie Robinson, Lauren Rowles and Jess Stretton who have all made it on to the Young SPOTY shortlist.
Young SPOTY results will be announced on Blue Peter on Thursday 8 December. SPOTY results will be announced in a live show on BBC One on 18 December.
The Department for Work and Pensions is launching an opportunity to work in collaboration with Jobcentre Plus to shape the support for disabled people and those with a health condition in partnership with the third sector. This was announced in Improving Lives: The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper, which was published for consultation on 31 October.
The new Community Partner role will build on expertise within Jobcentre Plus and strengthen the understanding of the needs of disabled people and those with health conditions to ensure that support can be tailored according to customer requirements.
As a Community Partner you will have experience and/or expert knowledge of disability, and enhance services to meet the needs and aspirations of disabled people and those with a health condition. You will bring specialist knowledge to enhance disability understanding, support the development of a national network and build local relationships with specialist organisations.
Applications for Lead Community Partner roles will remain open until Friday 16 December. Roles will be appointed on either a secondment or fixed-term appointment basis for one year, with a possible extension for a further 11 months.
For more information and to request an application form, please email Community.Partners@dwp.gsi.gov.uk or call 0207 867 3186/07747472709. Applicants should also contact for applications in an alternative format.