Young people from all over Cheshire came together to celebrate their individual achievements and mark the 10th anniversary of a local Down’s syndrome support group.

Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group has provided support and advice to over 100 families in Cheshire since 2007.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary milestone, the charity hosted a family celebration event at Vale Royal Abbey in Whitegate on Saturday, July 15.

Guests were treated to a medley of hits from tribute band Only One Direction and entertainment from Singing Hands; a Makaton signing duo, who help to develop communication potential through music, songs, games and activities.

The event was attended by more than 130 people and each young person was awarded for their latest achievement.

Rowan Canty, aged six from Chester, was presented an award by Mike Amesbury MP for Weaver Vale for learning to jump.

MP Mike Amesbury and CEO of Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group Julie Duff

Rowan’s mum Celeste said: “Rowan was delighted to receive his award and we are very proud of him.”

Rowan and his family have been supported by the charity with advice and helping Rowan’s school with training and advice.

Commenting on the support she has received, Celeste said: “I have been on a great number of the Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Groups excellent courses for Makaton, behaviour, development, numeracy and literacy.

“The charity host regular social events, where we can catch up with other families who have children with Down’s syndrome, enabling us to build up a social network with people in a similar situation. They offer a huge amount of invaluable support in times of crisis. They can always relate our predicaments to their own experiences, and make me feel that I’m doing a good enough job! They are amazing and we would be truly floundering without them!”

On presenting the award Mike Amesbury MP of Weaver Vale said: “It was a great honour to be at such an important milestone for Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group and an even greater honour to give out the awards to our young heroes in the local community.”

Hayley Simpson from Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group added: ‘It’s been a fantastic day celebrating all the achievements of the young people that we support. Each and every award that has been given out today was well deserved and a lot of effort and dedication would have gone into achieving these goals.

“The charity has grown so much over the last 10 years and we have huge plans to develop more services in the next 10 years, so that we can support more people in the Down’s syndrome community.

“We owe a huge thank you to the founders of the charity who continually dedicate themselves to supporting families across Cheshire.”

Sarah Cunney and Julie Duff

Thanks were also given at the event to the founding members of the group.

Sarah Larkin, Sarah Cunney and Amanda Glennon were the three mums who set up the group after they found there was a lack of information and advice on Down’s syndrome out there for new parents after their children were born.

Sarah Cunney said: “When my son Ben was born, the consultant advised us that they suspected Ben had Down’s syndrome and that this would be confirmed with a blood test to determine if he had three copies of the 21st chromosome. We were sent away from hospital with no information on Down’s syndrome, or where we could get advice or support. We felt very alone and concerned what Ben’s future might look like.

“We formed the support group to ensure that no-one else felt alone and that every new or expectant parents have access to the right, unbiased information. Our aim was to build a community where we can exchange advice, talk about our experiences and share this journey together.”

This adorable boy did a 3k race to thank charity which helped his sister

Cheshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group is a small local charity dedicated to supporting families and people with Down’s syndrome throughout the Cheshire region.

The charity is currently carrying out a consultation on current services for people with Down’s syndrome and would like to invite the community to complete a short survey to find out where more support and services are needed.

Should you wish to find out more on how the charity can support your family, school or healthcare setting go to , call 01606 246171 or email