PhabFest at Parallel Windsor

A car and a minibus set off from Oxford, fortunately not in the rain, on the morning of Sunday the 7th of July – heading for Windsor Great Park, where Parallel Lives had brought together a number of charities, including Phab for an event.

Fortunately, although the weather had been very wet, it was not raining when we arrived, and there were some walkways which are a huge help when people with wheelchairs need to move over fields, particularly when it has been so wet.

National Phab had a marquee, with a low stage, and John Kelly and his friends were setting up as we arrived.

We are very fortunate to have John Kelly play for us as he played “Spasticus Autisticus” with other members of the Graeae Theatre Company at the 2012 Summer Paralympics opening ceremony, where he was joined on stage by Stephen Hawking. If this event was released as a film this would give John Kelly a Bacon Number of 3, as Stephen Hawking has a Bacon number of 2 (as well as an Erdős number of 4).

Also in the marquee were the co-chairs of Phab, Mik Scarlett (shown here), and Dawn Vickers (not in these pictures, but she joined us on stage for our signed song later on)

Unfortunately as this point one of our members started feeling chest pains, and the on-site first aid staff examined him and said that he should be taken to Accident and Emergency at the nearest hospital for a proper checkup.

Fortunately we had a car as well as the minibus, so the spare coats etc of the car passengers was transferred to the minibus, and our car driver took him to hospital. Once had had been checked over and declared fit to be released (quite a bit later that day), he was released and driven back to Oxford.

Meanwhile, slightly depleted in number, we were on stage for our signed song. This was so well received that we were asked for an encore – something we had not expected – however the resourceful Helen knew a suitable song which she could sing and sign, and we followed her signing.

We yielded the stage to Epsom & Ewell Phab, while outside the heavy rain started in earnest and the Phab tent suddenly became very popular.

When the rain stopped there was a rush for the burger van, and I believe Ellie Simmonds was speaking on the main stage.

Burgers in hand we made our way hastily to the Long Walk, where the Sensory 1K was about to start, and joined the rest of Oxford Phab.

For the last section Trisha left her wheelchair behind and walked, cheered on by us, and by Ellie Simmonds!

Amazingly after that it stayed dry as we loaded the minibus and returned to Oxford, tired, but having had a good day out.

We did receive some sponsorship from the event, but more is always welcome, via our Donate page.

Looking forward to Spring and Summer

Having had a break for Easter we had plenty to talk about, but the main focus of the evening was looking forward to the events of the Spring and Summer.

Particular highlights of the Summer will be our return to Avon Tyrrell for another holiday there, and PhabFest at Parallel Windsor , where we hope to meet up with friends from other clubs, and also arrange to be sponsored as individuals or groups as a fundraising activity.

We are also looking forward to our trip to see 42 Balloons, at the Lowry Theatre in Salford. This musical by Jack Godfrey is based on the story of Larry Walters, who really did use a cluster of weather balloons to fly high into the air in a lawnchair. The musical has received very positive reviews, and an article on the BBC website. This is particularly exciting news for us as although 42 Balloons is performed by a very talented professional cast Phab members have appeared in some of Jack Godfrey’s earlier musicals, including Amazing Love.

Wesley Memorial Candlelit Carols

After the high energy excitement of ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie‘, some of us moved to the more tranquil setting of Wesley Memorial Church, were we listened to and participated in a mixture of tradition and modern Christmas Carols.

It has been a difficult year for many, so it was good to have the last opportunity of 2023 for Phab member to gather together as a time of uplifting music and words of hope.

Zumba Fundraiser

George Martini and his Zumba Instructor friends kindly laid on a Zumba session for us from 11am until 12:30 – a morning of high energy activity which sped by. Phab members, friends and supporters paid £10, came and danced and had a great time and raised over £300.

Afterwards we were able to restore the burnt-off calories with home made coffee cake, courgette and poppy seed buns and tea or coffee.

We were also delighted to be joined by one of our original members, and had an opportunity to chat and reminisce.

Church Garden Party

Once again the sun shone on the Annual Wesley Memorial Church Garden Party. Many scones were made, and consumed with clotted cream and strawberry jam. In the interests of science both the Cornish method (jam first, cream on top) and the Devon method (cream first and then jam) were tested, and the conclusion ? – More research needed!

The swimming pool was available, as well as impromptu games of football and badminton, and to top off the event a choir sang madrigals.

It was a welcome opportunity for Phab and church members to mingle and chat.

Thanks to many generous donations the event also raised over £500 for Oxford Phab.

Sponsored walk for toilet twinning

Two things greatly important to us came together in this event – helping others and toilets. Supporting each other is core to what Phab means, and toilets loom large in the memories of anyone who has been out and about with Phab, particularly in the days when accessible toilets were scarce and often dumping grounds for unused furniture ! (Frustrating when someone is desperate to use them for their inteneded use)

There is an organisation which works to build toilets in the world’s poorest countries We tend to take access to good sanitation for granted – most of us even have a toilet in our own homes! For many people this is not the case, and Toilet Twinning was set up to help them. You can find out more about them by visiting their website at

We went on a wet walk at Farmoor reservoir to raise money to ‘twin’ the two accessible toilets. It was very wet !

However we persevered, and despite the rain, made it to the far side of Farmoor reservoir.

Triumphant crossing !

Please consider donating at:

Although we have already hit our fundraising target, more donations will be welcome. If you read the website at I am sure you will agree it is a good cause.

Zumbathon – fun fundraiser.

We picked a hot evening for our Sponsored Zumbathon, but George’s enthusiasm, and plentiful supplies of water and squash kept us going.
That, and the need to raise funds to keep doing fun things. Some members have individual donation pages for the event. If you know someone who has one please use it, or the paper form if they are using those. Otherwise donations are welcome via the Club Fundraising page at

High Energy George, even in the heat

No slacking for us either !

Following Kelly’s lead

Two Georges

To find out more about our Fundraising, and how you can Donate, please see our Donate page.

Wesley Memorial Church Garden Party 2017

Members of Wesley Memorial Church once again kindly baked scones and cakes, and hosted a party in the garden of one of the church families so that church and Phab members could eat and socialise. Unfortunately the weather was not as kind as last year, but the welcome was just as warm, and the cakes just as delicious.

Sheltering from the light rain in a gazebo.
Tucking into home made scones with jam and cream.