Creatability. Using creative arts to enhance the lives of people suffering from disabilities.

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Thomas William Elkin MunnsThomas William Elkin Munns

I was born in May 1944 in Gravesend and I am a member of one of Gravesends oldest families. I qualified as a solicitor in 1967 and after working at various places I eventually returned to Gravesend 1984; to work for the then well known local firm of Church Bruce. Here I specialized in domestic and commercial conveyancing. Four years ago I had a stroke, which left me with a severe left sided paralysis. I was advised by my consultant that if I returned to work I would probably have another stroke and than it would most likely be fatal. That did not leave me with much choose so I therefore retired and I have not returned to work since. I have not been able to return to gainful employment since.

I have always been a bit fatalistic and just regarded misfortune as something that life throws at you and one must cope with it as best one can. This seems to puzzle some people but I know that I cannot cure myself and there does not seem to be any treatment for my condition. So I must make the best of what I have knowing that things could have been a lot worse. The fact that I can not drive and live alone is a real problem. Taxis are so expensive and the services offered by Dial-A-Ride, although good are very limited.

I have four children from my first marriage, unfortunately none of my children live locally. I was introduced to the disabled activity centre, run by QEF, by one of the physiotherapists at Gravesend community hospital. I found the use of the facilities there and the assistance and dedication of the staff and companionship of the other service user an absolute godsend. Unfortunately KCC decided to shut this centre despite vigorous protests from the users, so once again I have had to face an unpleasant event, which I could not influence. However I have now taken up the opportunity of jewellery working which I find I can manage with the assistant of tutors, even though I only the use of one hand. This has given me a sense of achievement that is very important to me. I also have the opportunity to make small gifts for those close to me. I sit on the board of members for Creatability where I aid in the delivery of the service.

For some years I have been a member of Gravesend Rotary Club and despite everything I now have the honour of being president for the Rotary year 2008-2009. I am also a member of the Gravesend Sea Cadets board of trustees. I have become a member of the Patient Partnership Initiative that operates out of Gravesend Community Hospital.

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