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Rose Brown from Ashford prepares for new home in Shadoxhurst


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A young woman left paralysed after a devastating accident is preparing for one of her biggest milestones yet.

Rose Brown lost the ability to speak, and move her arms and legs, after she was struck by a car 13 years ago.

Rose presenting the cheque to the charity
Rose presenting the cheque to the charity

A drink driver mounted the pavement in Beaver Road, as she walked home from Ashford International Sports and Social Club in 2009.

The crash killed grandmother Denise Head, 49, and great-grandad Brian Moon, 67, as they walked with Rose - who was 12 and living in Stanhope at the time.

Slovakian national Stefan Stanko was jailed for 10 years after he admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

Now, after years of progress, Rose is preparing to move into her own home in Shadoxhurst.

The team at charity Find A Voice have helped Rose unlock new methods of communication and gain independence in ways her family never thought would be possible.

The centre in Beaver Lane
The centre in Beaver Lane

Find A Voice, which operates from a centre in Beaver Lane, supports people of all ages with severe speech, language and communication needs by providing access to life enhancing advice, equipment and training.

While Rose is nervous about the transition, her aunt and personal assistant Julie Scorah says this will be a huge step for her.

"Once she’s in and settled there’s nothing else she needs to worry about," she said.

"The property is bought, we're just waiting for the adaptations to be done.

Rose with her grandparents Margaret and Steve in 2010
Rose with her grandparents Margaret and Steve in 2010

"Although she’s nervous it’s also exciting because she wants her own life.

"We all just want to see her happy and settled in her own home."

Rose also wanted to add a special thank you to her nan and grandad Margaret and Steve Scorah for everything they have done for her over the years.

Charity president Alastair Dutch remembers the day Rose first came to the charity, saying: "When the accident first happened her family got in touch because they didn't know what life would be like for Rose.

"She was this vibrant teenage girl who was completely paralysed.

Rose completing her cycling challenge in aid of Find a Voice. Picture: Julie Scorah
Rose completing her cycling challenge in aid of Find a Voice. Picture: Julie Scorah

"We didn't know how her brain was going to be affected and we soon found out with the help of a communication aid, her brain was functioning as normal and she is a very bright young lady."

Soon after the accident Rose went to Chailey Heritage Clinical Services in East Sussex, a special NHS unit for children with head injuries.

During her time there she learned to sit up in a chair, and no longer needed to be tube fed.

In 2018, she went to college and achieved C and D grades in her GCSEs.

Rose is confined to a wheelchair and can only move her head. She communicates using an aid operated by pressure pads at the side of her head which link up to a device which generates voice and script.

President Alastair Dutch and general manager Angela Reynolds
President Alastair Dutch and general manager Angela Reynolds

The former Towers School pupil has been using the aid for 11 years and Ms Scorah says without Find A Voice, it is something she never would have known about.

She said: "I think about how frustrating it must be for her and this helps her say what she wants to say.

"It is such a good feeling knowing she has this because now even if I'm not there, I have no worries people won't know what she is saying.

"If she has the computer on she can communicate with anybody.

"To the whole family, Find A Voice is like a miracle because we didn't know anything about these things.

"We thought we would never hear her again but all of a sudden she’s got her voice back."

The centre in Beaver Lane is where people with speech and language difficulties can continue their education after school with a fully qualified teacher.

They learn a range of IT, employability and life skills while developing their own personal interests.

Rose has visited each Wednesday for four years where her favourite things to do are art, maths, cooking and drama.

She has also been keeping busy taking part in a sponsored bike ride.

"We thought we would never hear her again but all of a sudden she’s got her voice back..."

Starting in January 2020, she cycled 15 miles over 10 weeks and completed her goal a week before the UK was plunged into the first lockdown.

Without hesitation she knew she wanted the money to go to Find A Voice so the charity can continue to support others.

The money will go towards expanding their services as demand is expected to rise in the wake of Covid-19, particularly when it comes to delays in children's speech development.

And it's not just Rose reaching milestones, Find A Voice has just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Looking back, one of the memories that stands out is the time Britain's Got Talent winner Lee Ridley, better known as Lost Voice Guy, held a gig at The Revelation at St Mary’s Church in town to raise funds for the charity.

Rose has maths lesson with teacher Ben Marshall
Rose has maths lesson with teacher Ben Marshall

Mr Dutch added: "He has a wicked sense of humour and presents the idea that disability is there to be overcome.

"Somebody told us about him and when we got in touch, he was delighted to help.

"We deal with all kinds of people across Kent from tiny children who are born with disabilities to adults who have had strokes.

"Some parents have a sense of despair so we tell them to look at Lee and Rose as an example that achievements are still possible."

Other celebrities they have worked with include actress Jan Francis from Woodchurch, singer Gareth Gates, and Ashford born broadcaster Bob Holness known for presenting Blockbusters.

"We deal with all kinds of people across Kent from tiny children who are born with disabilities to adults who have had strokes..."

Now Covid restrictions have eased, the team have once again began planning a range of fundraising events to look forward to.

They hope to host a summer ball, cookery evenings and psychic events.

Speech and language therapist Juliet Leonard will also be running the Brighton marathon in their honour on April 10.

To find out more, click here.

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