How will the Ed Sheeran Made in Suffolk Legacy Auction help causes here in Suffolk?

PUBLISHED: 19:00 04 November 2020

An impression of the new playground at the Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy Picture: RICHARD WILKINSON

An impression of the new playground at the Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy Picture: RICHARD WILKINSON


Two local good causes are set to benefit from the proceeds of the upcoming Made in Suffolk legacy auction; but who are they?

Mia Witham who has helped to design the new playground for the project Picture: MIA WITHAMMia Witham who has helped to design the new playground for the project Picture: MIA WITHAM

The auction follows the popular Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition which has been on show at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich.

It features more than 200 lots donated by a galaxy of famous faces including Shane Warne, David Beckham and Usain Bolt.

Ed himself has also put in a number of lots including a hand painted canvas and the handwritten lyrics to his global hit Perfect.

All the proceeds from the auction will be split between two causes; the Suffolk charity Zest and the redevelopment of a playground at the Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy in Ipswich for youngsters with special educational needs.

The auction will support two causes, including the Zest service run by St Elizabeth HospiceThe auction will support two causes, including the Zest service run by St Elizabeth Hospice

Zest is a scheme run by St Elizabeth Hospice which helps young adults aged 14 and over who have progressive and life-limiting illnesses.

It helps young people to move on when they become too old for children’s hospices, often having defied doctor’s expectations to live into adulthood.

There is no specific area of funding for young adult care and often families end up having to provide care during this time.

The charity offers a range of services for families from short breaks for young people to parent support groups and social groups. Zest currently looks after 36 young people and 124 family members; but it believes there are hundreds more who need help across the region whether this be financially or emotionally.

Nineteen year old Bethany Woods, from Ipswich in Suffolk is one of the young people Zest looks after.

Bethany has congenital muscular dystophy merosin negative which causes muscle weakness and low muscle tone.

She was previously treated by EACH and has been attending Zest activities for the past five years.

“Zest makes a very big difference to my life, as I get to meet up with young adults in similar situations to me and have plenty of fun, all with the appropriate care and support close at hand if I need it, allowing me to be as independent as possible,” said Bethany.

“Zest means just as much to my dad as they do to me.

“He loves taking me to their events, like X-Change nights, knowing I’ll have plenty of fun without needing him in the room, giving me the independence I don’t always get.

“To have all these different activities at Zest to attend and to be a part of with other young adults, who share similar experiences, it suddenly becomes a lot less difficult.”

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George Docker, 19, from Rendlesham also uses Zests services.

Throughout his life, George has developed ongoing problems including epilepsy, lower motor neurone, neuro-muscular disease, scoliosis, kyphosis, keratoconus and cardiomyopathy.

“Even now George’s condition is undiagnosed but it is possible that it is a genetic disorder,” said his mother Andrea Docker.

“Zest is a fantastic place, full of fun and laughter for everyone who attends. Friendship and support is a major part of what makes Zest so special.”

“George absolutely loves Zest, whether that is respite care, attending X-Change to see his friends or sports club, he enjoys it so much and it gives him some independence.

“Zest has changed his life, while it has also enabled me to build up a good relationship with other parents which has seen us create our own support group for each other.

“People should support and fundraise because there is nothing like Zest anywhere else for young adults to access. This is a major support group for disabled children and young adults with learning disabilities. There is nothing around this area that supports us like Zest does.”

MORE: Superstar Ed Sheeran donates amazing items for auction helping Suffolk causes

The Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy will be receiving a specially adapted new playground for youngsters with additional needs.

The design takes inspiration from Suffolk landscapes from woodlands to a beach area and a real tractor.

The playground will also feature a musical area with a chime that will replicate the musical notes of one of Ed Sheeran’s songs as well as a sensory garden.

The playground was designed by Suffolk-based landscape designer Mia Witham.

“To me, garden design is always about people and about improving people’s lives,” said Ms Witham.

“Able-bodied or not, I see children foremost as children and the aim of my designs is to downplay differing abilities and instead highlight the similarities between children.”

To view all the auction items up for sale visit the event website.

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