Monday, 13 February 2012

Andrew Webb

It was lovely to recently be at a thanksgiving service  for the life of dear Andrew Webb. He was a remarkable man who coped wonderfully well with his Down's syndrome. He was 60 years of age and had a lead a full life. He had been a lively part of our church family for many years.
Who can forget his flamboyant attempts to sing God is our strength and refuge (to the tune of Dambusters) or his enthusiastic stomping to any song with a go-get-it rhythm.

Always on the front row and at times only too happy to help the service leader out, with a not always perfectly timed, 'let us pray' or 'amen'. He was   member of a monthly home group for adults with learning disabilities which meet at the home of our good friends Richard and Cathy Cooper. They meet to pray, to support one-another, to study the Bible and help one-another grow in grace. My wife Liz loves  helping out and being a part of the group too.

Down's syndrome is challenging and brings much heartache and difficulties for parents. Not only dealing with behavioural challenges but also the differing physical problems that can be associated with it. On the other hand such folk often have great zest for life and a very loving demeanour.

Our current  approach to ante-natal testing in England makes the presumption that all pregnant women should be screened for Downs syndrome. Very often  the expectant young mother is not aware that she has a choice about ante-natal screening. The trajectory of testing for conditions such as Downs is towards termination of the pregnancy. I make no judgement on those who choose to test or even to terminate, I simply remind myself of how enriched my life has been by knowing Andy and  by seeing the amazing love and care shown to him by an army of carers over many years, and just how much joy Andy has known in his life.



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