Friday was an extraordinary day at the Michael Palin Centre.
It was the last day of our two-week group intensive therapy course for young people who stammer aged 15 to 18, where the fourteen teenagers had bonded together as they set themselves great challenges in building confidence and resilience, learning speech strategies, honing their social interaction skills and not letting their stammer get in the way. They made presentations to groups of people, went out into Exmouth Market to speak to members of the public, devised plans for maintaining the progress they had achieved, as well as managing the inevitable relapses, and pledged eternal friendship beyond the course.
As the young people left the building at 3.30, it was transformed into a party venue ready for a 4.30 start. Glasses were polished, rooms were tidied, therapists gave themselves makeovers, food was prepared, badges were issued. And an hour later the building was filled with friends and supporters of the Centre and the Charity.
Michael Palin cut the ribbon to officially open the Lena Rustin Wing, our wonderful new training room which converts into two therapy rooms. We had remembered and toasted Lena Rustin, the innovative, visionary and dynamic therapist who had established an expert speech and language therapy service, including a speciality for children who stammer back in the 1970s. We had thanked our supporters, acknowledging Andrew Fowler’s legacy, which made the project possible. And we had celebrated another important moment in our journey, taking forward this legacy which is so important and very special.