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August 18, 2005

Street party to help deaf children

From: Herts 24, UK - Aug 18, 2005

SCALEXTRIC racing, juggling and a magic show are among the attractions on Sunday at a street party to raise money for the National Deaf Children's Society.

The party will be held in Castle Street, Hertford from noon until about 6pm.

Organiser Ian Butler, of Woodlands Road, Hertford, said: "We are aiming to strike a balance between a village fete, car boot sale and a party.

"The ethos is that we want people to turn up and enjoy themselves."

Farmers and growers who attend the regular producers' markets in the town will also be there, and children will have their own entertainments on the day.

Adults will be entertained by DJs, food, Pimms, beer and wine from the White Horse pub and a vintage scooter display.

Sunday's party is the third annual Castle Street party. The first event, in 2003, raised just under £2000 while last year's party broke the £2000 barrier.

The National Deaf Children's Society is a registered charity which provides support and advice for deaf children and their families, and Mr Butler and his wife Ann have personal reasons for raising money for the charity.

In 1976 Mrs Butler gave birth to a baby girl, Louise. When she was very young, Louise was diagnosed as being deaf.

"We knew nothing about coping with bringing up a deaf child," said Mr Butler. "We didn't know what a hearing aid was! The NDCS were so helpful, they gave us practical and emotional support when things got desperate."

Mr Butler said that bringing up a deaf child throws up all kinds of difficulties. "You have all the problems associated with bringing up a child and more," he said.

"There are safety issues such as not being able to hear traffic when crossing a road which is something most of us take for granted.

"It is also difficult to learn how to instill language skills in people who can't get them naturally, in that sense mobile phone text-messaging has really helped."

Louise, who is now a 29-year-old mother-of-one, attended Sheredes School, in Hoddesdon, Wheatcroft Primary, in Hertford and Simon Balle in Hertford while she was growing up.

"The staff at the schools Louise went to were fantastic," said Mr Butler. "Many of them went on courses to learn how to teach a deaf child.

"In a way we were lucky because in some parts of the country people just don't have access to this kind of support."

Mr Butler added: "The NDCS have been so supportive to us in the past as well as to many other young parents, and it is good to do something to help them in return."

Entry to the party is free, people are invited to turn up at any time throughout the afternoon.

Anybody wishing to set up a stall or provide entertainment for the street party should call Mr Butler on 07811 613279 or e-mail

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