Eleanor, aged 8, takes her younger sister on the walk!

A little girl, herself the subject of Development Language Disorder which means she can’t process what’s happening in the world around her, has shown that this lifelong disability counts for nothing when it comes to expressing her love for her family.

Eleanor Jones, aged eight, has just walked the entire length of the 13-mile Wirral Coastal Walk to raise money for the ME Association and even taken her even smaller sister, six-year-old Isla-Rose, along with her for the second half.

Their dad Chris, a former police officer and British Army reservist who’s been out of action since going down with severe ME 10 years ago, commented:

“Eleanor is an absolute inspiration in how she manages to just get on with her life regardless of the immense barriers she faces. Both my wife Becky and I are immeasurably proud of her and her achievements.”

The two sisters – part of a family of four siblings – took the Mid-Wirral Rotary Club’s Wirral Coastal Path Walk in their stride when they walked it on Sunday.  They held hands as they walked – mum, dad and the baby following behind. Thankfully the weather stayed fine, if a bit windy.

Chris said: “Eleanor is an amazing, wonderful and happy girl, who is extremely talented when it comes to music and art.  She plays both cornet and the piano, and spends her downtime designing outfits and dresses.  Her dream is to become a fashion designer.

Pictured are: Eleanor, before she got her new specs, with dad Chris; Eleanor showing off her new T-shirt – pink has to be part of everything!; dad and his three younger children; Eleanor took Isla-Rose in hand for the second part of the walk; and thumbs-up at the end from the two happy finishers. And don't you just love the family-designed T-shirts?

“She is a member of a local running club and gets to have lots of fun adventures as a Cub Scout and a Brownie at her local group as well as playing the part of Mother Hen to her older brother Noah, aged 14, and younger sisters Isla-Rose and Arabella, aged one.”

Chris said every day is a challenge for his eight-year-old daughter . She can shut down quite unexpectedly and loses self-confidence often. But her common sense and care for others shine through everything!

Younger sister Isla-Rose, who is probably on a pathway to be diagnosed with autism, “loves all things dinosaur and can name pretty everyone she sees”. She plays the drums and her favourite band is Andy and The Odd Socks.

Chris himself was a police officer for 15 years, covering day, late and night shifts, being deployed to investigate serious injury and fatal road traffic collisions.The 39-year-old was a VOSA Qualified Vehicle examiner, a Family Liaison Officer and an Advanced Police Driver, which meant he was authorised for high-speed chases.

For three years he was a British Army reservist, serving as a gunner in the Royal Artillery. “I was able to do it in between shifts with the police. It kept my fitness up. They were good times.”

He cannot pinpoint the cause of his ME symptoms “but they progressed quite quickly and got worse over time. I was tested for everything known to the medical world over two years and the end result was a diagnosis with Severe M.E.

“During this time I was unable to fulfil my duties and it eventually led me to leave the Royal Artillery and be medically retired from the police force. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Thank you, Eleanor and Isla-Rose, for everything and we really hope you had a good time on Sunday! And thanks, Chris, for telling their stories.

If you would like to support Eleanor’s fundraiser, please visit her fundraising page at  https://www.justgiving.com/page/chris-eleanors-wirralcostalwalk

Tony Britton
Senior Fundraising Consultant, The ME Association
tony.britton@meassociation.org.uk Mob: 07393 805566

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