Downing Street visit for Horsham mothers

Natalie Gazey, Dr Dawn Harper, Samantha Cameron and Samantha Buck at Downing Street
Natalie Gazey, Dr Dawn Harper, Samantha Cameron and Samantha Buck at Downing Street

Two campaigning mums met with Samantha Cameron at 10 Downing Street last week to discuss life with a disabled child.

Natalie Gazey and Samantha Buck, of Horsham, met Prime Minister David Cameron’s wife on Tuesday June 17, where they spoke about the charity Hop Skip and Jump’s ‘Care in the High Street’ initiative.

Samantha Buck’s son Alfie, eight, and Natalie’s son Laurence Biegstraaten, 11, are both severely disabled.

Mr and Mrs Cameron’s son Ivan died in 2009 aged just six, having suffered from cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

Samantha Buck said: “Even David Cameron’s wife has been on her knees, sitting in urine, changing her disabled child.

“It means somebody gets it, and she is in some sort of position to publicise it.

“That’s what it’s all about, but it was just like a mum chat.”

Samantha Buck has created an online petition to provide improved changing facilities for parents with disabled children. It has attracted more than 22,000 signatures.

She aims to one day speak to Mrs Cameron’s husband about the need for adequate changing places in toilets.

She has joined forces with Hop Skip and Jump, a charity whose latest initiative provides care and entertainment for disabled children while their parents are busy.

She said: “Hop Skip and Jump approached me - they do high street respite care, where you drop off your disabled child while you go shopping.

“They would love to come to Horsham.

“We joined forces which is how we got invited to Downing Street - I got an invite in the post out the blue.”

At Downing Street the mothers also met Dr Dawn Harper from the Channel Four television programme Embarrassing Bodies, who is a patron of Hop Skip and Jump.

Samantha added Mrs Cameron was able to identify with many of the challenges faced by parents of disabled children every day.

She said: “Samantha Cameron had Ivan, and he had the same problems with severe cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

“She backs the Hop Skip and Jump campaign every step of the way.”

Samantha Buck’s campaign calls on the government to change all public disabled toilets into ‘Changing Places’ toilets with a bench and hoist so disabled people can be lifted onto a toilet with ease or changed on a clean surface rather than the toilet floor.

She said: “Nobody knew about this until I started shouting ‘this is real and this really happens’.”