(Pictured above: Princess George Galitzine with John Corless (left) and Prince Galitzine (right) at a Phab event.)
A tribute from John Corless OBE, Chairman of Phab, given at the memorial service for Princess George Galitzine at St Peter’s Church, Eaton Square, London on Monday 23rd January:
I am greatly honoured to have been asked to say a few words of tribute in memory of Princess George who was gracious, generous and joyful. She will be remembered for her incredible work and tireless devotion to the charities which she supported with such enthusiasm and vitality.
As Chairman of Phab I am privileged to have known the Princess (Jean) for over 40 years, but she was involved with our Charity 20 years before that, right at the very beginning.
It started with what was then known as the National Association of Youth Clubs. When Jean was making the film “Wonderful Things” in Gibraltar with Frankie Vaughan, Frankie used to disappear every night. She asked him where he was going and he suggested she came too. He took her to a Youth Club on the outskirts of the city, where young boys and girls – mainly teenagers – were dancing and listening to music; some of the boys were boxing; it was all great fun and she enjoyed herself enormously.
Frankie suggested that Jean became involved and when she returned to England, she did so, remaining involved for 60 years; organising fashion shows for young dressmakers, dancing competitions (long before ‘Strictly’ became famous) and finally, helping to get First Gear off the ground – a project for young people to learn safe driving skills.
As a Vice President, the Princess played an integral role in developing NAYC to what is now UK Youth, helping them to reach over eight hundred thousand people every year and she had a strong and long standing relationship with their Patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, and their President, Nigel Mansell.
The charity Phab evolved from the heartfelt plea of a young man at a weekend conference organised by NAYC. He was a wheelchair user who asked for opportunity not pity – the opportunity to be able to access all the exciting and social activities which his non-disabled friends took so much for granted.
This marked the beginning of a new branch of projects and clubs named P-H-A-B which stood for Physically Handicapped and Able Bodied.
The Princess became a Vice President of this new organisation which was to become the national charity Phab, this year celebrating 60 years, and she has supported our many fundraising events and activities throughout these years with grace, charm and abundant enthusiasm.
Whenever Jean gave her time to events, which she did frequently, she gave her all. She always looked fantastic and spoke to everyone, immediately putting them at ease; although she hated public speaking she always managed to say the right thing with confidence and aplomb.
Another organisation close to the Princess’s heart was The Terence Rattigan Society. Launched in his centenary year – 2011 – Jean was invited to become its inaugural President. As the famous Dior model, Jean Dawnay, she became a great friend of the late Sir Terence Rattigan. He too lived in Eaton Square and Jean became his muse for a character in his play ‘Separate Tables’ – a top model living in Belgravia. Jean also acted as Sir Terence’s hostess at his glittering parties, greeting Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller and a host of stars of stage and screen. Terence Rattigan loved Jean and the feeling was mutual.
For five years her presence graced most of their events and she supported the Society’s initiatives. She was even the star on two occasions – ‘An Evening on Terence Rattigan with Princess Galitzine’ at the V & A and a similar event at the English-Speaking Union. She was a committed, gracious and well-loved President and I know that The Terence Rattigan Society is deeply grateful.
Following the death of her husband Prince George in 1992, Jean and Katya decided to honour his memory by setting up a charitable trust in his name. This lead to the idea of creating a library, the theme of which would be Rossica of the 20th century, (books about Russia published abroad in Russian and in English).
This theme was determined not only by the late Prince’s personal interest, but also by a desire to make books, which until very recently had not been easily accessible in Soviet Russia, available to the people of St Petersburg and to preserve Russian history, filling the gap created by years of Soviet rule. The Library was Jean’s biggest project – one that she began at the tender age of 70! She gave all her energy to it and managed to establish an endowment fund from her tireless fund-raising.
The Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library was founded in October 1994, in St Petersburg in a building which was the former family home of Prince George’s mother. Now the light and airy room within this mansion houses over three thousand volumes on the ‘Rossica’ theme and has become a cultural centre with over four thousand visitors a year; hosting events such as lectures, book presentations, concerts, exhibitions and seminars all open to everyone and free of charge. Funding is organised from London, and The Galitzine-St Petersburg Trust organises an exclusive annual event to raise the necessary funding to finance the Library into the foreseeable future.
The goal of the Library, as conceived by its founders, is “to educate, enlighten and inspire”. This is a most wonderful legacy which will be enjoyed by future generations from all over the world.
My own personal memories of the Princess are of her grace and charm. She was always positive, supportive and encouraging and was of great influence to me. I loved her dearly and her spirit and many wonderful memories will remain with me forever. I will miss her greatly.
Phab’s Diamond Jubilee Weekend at Holiday Inn Coventry was amazing!
We arrived at 4 o’clock & met up with people from all over the Midlands and some from SE Phab groups including a gorgeous black Labrador Guide dog called Wheeler…he was a big softie and gave me his paw.
After unpacking we explored the Spa and enjoyed the pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna before getting ready for the evening’s entertainment. We sat at tables of ten and made new friends with Phab folks from Devon and Dorset.
After a tasty meal I got up and joined in the dancing with Tiger Feet- they showed us the moves and we copied – great fun. There was a disco, which everybody enjoyed, rounding off the evening.
Saturday morning we were busy straight after breakfast with exciting workshops. First up we had a talk from Dogs for Good; they had three puppies, all labs and under a year old. We got lots of cuddles and licks! Next I joined the Drumming workshop and had fun on the drums with Steve. Later I made a gorgeous hedgehog out of an old paperback book ….will make a super centre piece at Christmas. Others had their nails painted ready for the evening whilst I went for another swim.
Dinner was a sparkly affair….lots of bling and balloons! After the meal we all enjoyed James’ singing and guitar playing before the raffle and disco. We danced till after midnight…I think the hotel staff were ready for bed!
Sunday morning, not too early a start, after breakfast we had a Team Building challenge on the theme of Famous monuments. Our team made Big Ben and a bus out of cake and lots of sweets, but the winning team came up with a brilliant design of The Olympics at Rio. Everybody had a good time and some people ate quite a lot of chocolate buttons!
Then it was time for the farewell buffet lunch and last goodbyes. What a great weekend and a big thank you especially to Heather for organising it and Janine & Anne for helping make it such fun for everyone.
Below are photos from the weekend, taken by Bob Lapworth.
The Blue Diamond team ran in the Royal Parks Foundation London Half Marathon on 9th October to raise money for “Phabkids”.
Led by Blue Diamond’s Managing Director, Alan Roper, the team, which included Richard Hemans (Finance Director) and Jill Kerr (Group Buyer, pictured above with Phab’s Anne Joyce and Madeleine Fry), succeeded in their quest to complete the Royal Parks Foundation London Half Marathon, which took place on Sunday 9th October.
The team raised more than £1,500 for Phab and continues to support the charity by promoting sales of the rose ‘Phab Gold’.
Alan Roper (above, with Jill Kerr) said, “Staff at all 18 Blue Diamond Garden Centres, family and friends have been so supportive of our efforts and in sponsoring us. I am delighted to have completed the run without too many side effects and to have been able to raise money for ‘Phab Kids’.”
Blue Diamond (www.bluediamond.gg), the third largest garden centre group in the UK with 18 garden centres across the country, is continuing to help the charity to raise more money by promoting sales of the rose ‘Phab Gold’, which was named in support of the charity.
A percentage of the sales of the rose will go to the charity, when ordered direct from ‘Phab’. To order a ‘Phab Gold’ rose please contact ‘Phab’ on 020 8667 9443 or email email@example.com.
Please support the team’s efforts by sponsoring Alan, Richard and Jill at
The annual Phab Awards hosted by Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, DBE took place on 6th October 2016 at The House of Lords. Three awards were presented: The Paul Hope Award, The Louis Goldberg Award and The Lord Morris Award.
We had many nominees for The Paul Hope Award, but the winner was Jack Edwards (below right, with John Corless and Baroness Campbell) from Oldham Phab Club.
Jack established Oldham Phab in 2000, with just a few volunteers, there are now over 60 members and more than 15 volunteers. Members are encouraged to try many new activities and this has built up their confidence and self-esteem. A full report about Jack will be published in the Phab magazine in January 2017, with information and pictures on all of the other wonderful nominees from our fantastic clubs.
The Louis Goldberg Award, which is awarded to young people, was presented by Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health, and Work. We are pleased to announce that the joint winners of the Louis Goldberg Award were Sophie Golding from Epsom Phab and Amy Parks from Uckfield Phab.
The Lord Morris Award was presented in memory of the late Lord Morris of Manchester, who dedicated his life to campaigning for the rights of disabled people. This award recognises an outstanding contribution to the development and promotion of Phab’s aim of inclusion through schools, colleges, and universities. We were delighted that Lady Morris presented this to Nick Feingold (below), who has established a successful Phab group at Nottingham University and is assisting with setting up groups at universities nationwide.
The Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (UK) (WDSA (UK)) is happy to announce the official Wheelchair Dance Sport Competition in the UK and the first Inclusive Dance Festival, taking place on Saturday 22nd October 2016.
The WDSA (UK) is really excited to announce that the national competition and festival which will take place in Hertfordshire at Wodson Sports Park in Ware, is being sponsored and supported by The Unlimited Company from Simply Health
The day will be split into two sections the morning is an Inclusive Dance Festival open to anyone, this is your chance to shine and showcase your talent! No matter what the age, ability or dance style, join us and perform on the day to show that we can all dance and be active or just come along and watch.
The afternoon is the UK National Wheelchair Dance Sport Competition; including beginner level right up to the best the UK has to offer in the world of wheelchair dance and wheelchair dance sport.
Timothy Palmer, WDSA (UK) Dancesport Director said: “We so excited to be running the biggest Para sport event ever to be staged in the UK for Wheelchair Dance Sport, and the first of its kind inclusive dance festival, we are very proud to have the backing and support of The Unlimited Company who have been such a friendly and engaging organisation, as to help us promote that Dance can be for everyone. We look forward to this being a strong and long lasting relationship.”
With the Paralympics in Rio and the new series of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 just about to start, public interest in the dance and sport is at an all-time high, and a high level of competition is expected. Spectator tickets are also available to see this amazing sport and the dedication of its athletes
Matt Main, Managing Director of The Unlimited Company, said: “We’re delighted to sponsor the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (UK). Our aim is to support people to achieve their ambitions, whether that’s playing sport, dancing or even being able to get out and about, and as our name suggests we want people to live an unlimited life, regardless of age or disability.”
This event in October, which will be hosted by the newest Patron of the WDSA (UK) Hakeem Onibudo, is open to all, no matter what the age or ability, the WDSA (UK) is looking forward to showing that everyone can dance. Join us and the Unlimited Company on the 22nd October and show your support through social media and support our #EveryoneCanDance and #MoreThanYouSee campaigns.
To compete at the National Competition or perform at the Festival you can access entry paperwork via the website http://wdsauk.co.uk/events/national-competition/ . The entry deadline is September 23rd 2016.
The Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (UK)
Established in 2006 as the National Governing Body for wheelchair dance sport and wheelchair dancing within the UK, for those who would otherwise be excluded from dancing. The aim of the WDSA (UK) is to promote and develop wheelchair dancing as a sport and leisure activity across the country and to raise the standard of coaching and competition in the UK and internationally at all levels. Wheelchair Dance Sport is accessible to anyone with no boundaries in terms of age limit or level of ability.
During another successful Phabkids project at Avon Tyrrell, we were delighted to receive a donation from Croydon Freemasons to fund participants in the area.
Phabkids Project at Avon Tyrrell
12 – 19th August 2016
The sun certainly shone for our ‘Phabulous’ week at Avon Tyrrell in The New Forest. Our wonderful volunteers arrived on the 12th August and we spent that time getting our marquee ready for our Olympic theme, making beds, and preparing for the participants that were due to arrive on the next day.
Saturday was filled with great excitement as we booked the children and young people in and settled them into their log cabins. The participants were divided into teams connected to the Olympics, and that theme continued throughout the week, as the participants enjoyed zip-wiring, abseiling, archery, circus skills, sports day, lake sessions, pond-dipping, bug hunts, disco, animal man, treasure hunt, cycling and much, much more.
Everyone got so much out of the week, and it was so sad to say goodbye on the Friday morning, but friendships had been made, goals had been achieved and it really was another Phab-filled Fun Week.
Phabkids Project at Bendrigg Lodge
13th – 20th August
Twenty two very excited children and young people from all around the country arrived at Bendrigg lodge for a fun filled week of adventurous activities. For some it was their first time away with Phab and it was a chance to make new friends, learn new skills and spend some independent time away from their parents and carers.
That evening we threw ourselves straight into the activities and set off on a walk along the pretty country lanes where we stopped to look at the cows, sheep and horses and take in some of the amazing scenery.
The next day we split into three activity groups to help reduce waiting times and this also gave us the opportunity to have a full day on each activity so we could really get involved.
The caving group set off to the nearby Yorkshire Dales to explore a cave called Yordas. Legend has it that a giant once lived in the cave and although we saw his pantry, chair and shower, we didn’t get to meet him! Some of the children decided to make the most of his shower and walked right underneath the huge waterfall which was at the back of the cave and then they squeezed through the tiny gap to return to the main chamber – a very brave bunch!
That evening we had fun at the Bendrigg Lodge site where we whizzed down the tube slide, tackled the assault course and got sporty in the sports hall.
On the Monday it was time to try our hand at climbing and abseiling. Bendrigg Lodge has the most amazing climbing wall and it wasn’t long before everyone had reached the top. There are lots of different routes to try with ever increasing difficulty and it was fantastic to see the children challenge themselves and put so much effort into each task. Once we had all got to the top the only way was down – via the abseil! It is a daunting task to put so much trust in the people around you and lower yourself over such a long drop down!
After lunch we headed for the very popular zip wire and there were screams of excitement that echoed over the Lake District mountains! Being an adventurous group we didn’t finish there and decided to tackle Bendi Beam – a huge log which you must balance on to reach and ring the bell at the summit Everyone had a go and there were some fantastic Superman leaps from the top!
On Tuesday we headed for Happy Mount Park in Morecambe where we played crazy golf, got wet in the splash park, played football and enjoyed a lovely picnic and ice-creams. That afternoon we went tenpin bowling and then had a very breezy walk along the front to find a beach to eat our fish and chips. It was a lovely evening so we spent lots of time building sandcastles, flying kites, hunting for crabs and paddling. By the time we returned to Bendrigg Lodge everyone was exhausted and it was very quiet in the bedrooms by 9.30pm!
Canoeing on Windermere Lake was the order of the day on Wednesday. The team set off to Ferry Nab to launch their boats and set off to an island where they ate a picnic and had a treasure hunt. After leaving the island we paddled off to Bowness where ice creams are a must and we sat overlooking the lake eating our cones topped with chocolate – delicious! After a bit more paddling it was time to see who was brave enough to go for a swim and it appeared that almost everyone was! It was great fun jumping off the jetty and the water was surprisingly warm!
That evening we got creative with the potter’s wheel where we had a go at making bowls, jugs and other interesting items.
Thursday was the Olympic team challenge day where we all took part in a range of tasks to win points for our teams. We dropped balls into canoes from the zip wire, went orienteering, hunted for treasure in the indoor cave and hit the targets in archery. After lunch we organised some silly games such as Human Hungry Hippos, a donut eating challenge, a blindfolded hoopla game and the very funny Wotsit challenge in which a member of the Phab volunteer team gets covered in shaving foam so their team members can throw Wotsit style crisps at them and gain a point for each one that sticks! Very silly but brilliant fun!
Friday was Options Day where everyone got to choose which activity they would like to try. Some of the group went to the challenging ghyll scramble where they climbed up three waterfalls to reach the top. Others enjoyed a kayaking session or a trip to the local farm where we fed the calves and lambs. That afternoon there was a chance to swim in the outdoor pool at Ingleton or have another go at some of the activities on site.
In the evening we got dressed up in our Olympic fancy dress costumes and danced the night away! It had been a great week with some impressive achievements which were recognised at our awards ceremony.
When it came to saying goodbye there were a few tears and some very proud children and I am sure it will be an experience they will never forget.
Phabkids Project at Bendrigg Lodge
6th – 13th August 2016
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon in the Lake District, as everyone started to arrive at Bendrigg Lodge for the first week of the Independent Living Projects! There was a sense of excitement and a few nerves as we said goodbye to parents and carers to get ready for a week of fun ahead!
We enjoyed a delicious meal to welcome us to Bendrigg and then set off on a night walk! Not much sleep was had on the first night as everyone got used to their new beds but we had plenty of energy for our activities on the first day!
We worked in 3 teams, doing different activities on some of the days, some people went caving, others climbing and some people headed to Lake Windermere for canoeing! For many people this was the first time they had tried these activities and it was pretty scary! We explored the cave and were even brave enough to see what it would be like without any lights on! There were lots of challenges to be had on the climbing wall, it was amazing to see people facing their fears and climbing right to the top! We practised our abseiling skills coming down the wall and some even did a free fall abseil in the glorious sunshine! Canoeing was a wet day for all, splashing and jumping is an essential part of the day!
On Tuesday we all headed out together to Morecambe, we spent the morning exploring Happy Mount Park and got wet in the splash park before an afternoon of bowling. No day at Morecambe would be complete without fish and chips overlooking the sea; unfortunately we couldn’t see the sea through the mist, but we were promised it was out there somewhere!
Wednesday was the team challenge day. We worked together in orienteering, on the zip wire and in the indoor cave to earn points for our teams. The afternoon involved plenty of messy games to earn even more points – eating doughnuts from a string without using our hands was a particular highlight!
On Friday we had some choices to make for options day; some people had a trip to the farm, others enjoyed kayaking, some people challenged their climbing skills on a ghyll scramble and others enjoyed swimming in an outdoor pool.
And if we weren’t too tired there was lots fun to be had in the evenings too, singing at the campfire, making lots of Olympics themed crafts with Emily [Bendrigg’s resident artist], a movie night and lots of goes down the tube slide!
It was an amazing week and it was really special to share everyone’s achievements as we all received certificates on the final morning. There were tears as we said goodbye to all the new friends we had made this week but everyone was ready to head home for a rest and to share our amazing stories.
Louise Edgell, Volunteer
BBC Children in Need have once again supported Phab’s Residential Projects programme this year with a very generous £45,000 grant, enabling even more children and young people who have a disability or who are disadvantaged in some way to join our unique Projects at fully accessible outdoor activity centres in the Lake District and the New Forest. We thank Pudsey, BBC Children in Need and all their supporters for helping us to give these children such a very special time away with Phab.