Several members were among the invited guests at Calvert Trust Exmoor for a morning with Michael Caines on Tuesday where it was announced Michael had become an Ambassador for the charity.
Michael Caines, a celebrated chef who has many accolades to his name including Michelin Stars and an MBE, gave an extremely moving account of his life to date. He spoke freely of his passion not only for good food but also for disabled people not being limited by the perceptions of others. His presentation was both moving and inspiring in equal measure, as he explained how he approached and overcame the challenges in his life.
Being adopted and then losing his right arm at 25, just after he became Head Chef at Gidleigh Park have both left differing impressions on him, but have certainly contributed to his passion and zest for life.
He spoke about the importance of empowerment and independence for those with disabilities - both the visible and invisible and even questioned what is 'normal'. The benefits of activity and a place where acceptance is the norm and not the exception, he was passionate about the positive effect of the activities of Calvert Trust Exmoor can have on those that visit, both disabled and their carers.
Heidi Watson, Chief Exec of Calvert Trust Exmoor gave an excellent presentation on what visitors can do at their facility, how they focus on what people can do and not what can't. They challenge those who need it and support those who need to find their feet - figuratively, not literally, enabling independence wherever possible. After the examples Heidi gave of some of the visitors who had been helped, I don't think there was a dry eye in the room (even hers!).
The presentations were followed by a tour of the premises, visiting many of the activity areas and indoor facilities that the centre provides. As you walk around the supportive environment and ambience of the facility is clear as soon as you arrive, from the buildings so lovingly restored to the staff who go the extra mile for the comfort and safety of their guests.
It was an excellent opportunity for our members to see & hear more about Calvert Trust Exmoor and of course to meet Michael Caines too and the feedback has been really positive.
The photo above shows (left to right) Heidi Watson, CEO of Calvert Trust Exmoor, with Michael Caines & our President, Trudi Spratt on the balcony of the Ackland Room.