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Emmerdale Star Is Patron Of Disabled Living Centre

Emmerdale Star Is Patron Of Disabled Living Centre

william merritt James Hooton

Clients, staff and Trustees at the William Merritt Disabled Living Centre are thrilled that James Hooton has chosen the Centre to represent as a Patron. Having played the character Sam Dingle in Emmerdale for nearly twenty years, James is an instantly recognisable character. The Centre is exceptionally proud to be associated with James and look forward to working with him on a number of projects in the years ahead.

James said: "A visit to the Centre made me feel quite humbled and really proud that I can help in some small way. I'm really looking forward to going to the Gala Ball. I've heard what has been planned, and it sounds amazing!"

Whether disabled from birth or as a result of an injury, or an illness such as dementia or MS, the Centre enables and inspires children, teenagers and adults to find equipment to enable them to do everyday things - and extraordinary things - that other people take for granted.

Colin McDonnell has been coming to the centre, which is based on the St Mary's Hospital site in Armley, Leeds since he was four. The 20-year-old has athetoid cerebral palsy which means he uses a wheelchair and cannot operate a touch screen phone in the usual way.

The William Merritt Disabled Living Centre was established in 1981 - the International Year of Disabled People and was named after Councillor William Merritt S.R.N., R.M.N.

Councillor William Merritt's main interest in the Council was in the field of Social Services and in 1953 he pioneered the development of the City's 'Welfare Scheme for the Disabled'. He encouraged the development of voluntary organisations for disabled people in the City. Anne Chamberlain and Arthur Goldthorpe together with Derek James - the Director of Social services- supported the concept of the Centre and encouraged William Merritt, Chairman of the Social Services Committee to sell the idea to his fellow councillors.

The William Merritt Centre has gone from strength to strength developing its services to meet the changing needs of the people in Yorkshire and developments in equipment and technology.

From the start the centre has worked with children, adults and older people with wide ranging and complex needs. In 2001 the Mobility Service was established and the centre started to offer driving assessments which is still funded by the Department of Transport and Motability.

In 2006, the centre's 25th year, funds were raised for a new project- Switches 4 Kidz. This has grown to include Technology 4 Teens. 2013 saw the centre become a Social Enterprise, continuing to work with individuals families and professionals and their aim is to offer high quality service.

To supplement this revenue and to make the move to bigger and better premises possible, where the much valued services can be expanded upon, the Centre are hosting a themed black tie Gala Ball.

James will be present at the fundraising 'Some Like It Hot' Gala Ball that the Centre is hosting at The New Dock Hall, Royal Armouries on Saturday 27 September.

For details on various sponsorship packages and to buy tickets, please contact David Bransby dbransby@wmdlc.org

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