School shows support for ‘champion’ student

Rachel and Dave Henshaw from Billinge, with youngest son Jack, two, showing their support for Down Syndrome Awareness Day, also known as odd sock day, as their son Max has Down Syndrome
Rachel and Dave Henshaw from Billinge, with youngest son Jack, two, showing their support for Down Syndrome Awareness Day, also known as odd sock day, as their son Max has Down Syndrome

A WIGAN school is urging everyone to wear odd socks in support of a special pupil.

As part of National Down’s Syndrome Awareness Day, pupils of Billinge St Aidan’s CE Primary will be donning the clothing not only to raise money for charity but to also make people think twice about certain stereotypes.

Max Henshaw

Max Henshaw

The event is being held with particular regard to one of its students: five-year-old Max Henshaw, who was born with the genetic disorder.

Along with parents Rachel and Dave Henshaw, the school is encouraging others to let go of taboos. Reception teacher Sarah Cunliffe said: “We all love Max here at the school. He is such a champion and a delight to be around.

“It’s so important to raise awareness as he has every right to be integrated here as much as any other child.

“Those with Down’s Syndrome shouldn’t be treated any differently, we aren’t living in the dark ages anymore and I believe if people knew more about the condition they would understand.”

Rachel, 43, said: “A lot of people don’t understand Down’s Syndrome and there is still somewhat of a taboo.

“Max is just Max, he’s my little boy, he isn’t Max who has Down’s’.”

Rachel endured a rollercoaster pregnancy as her early scan revealed an indication of Down’s Syndrome. But that appeared to have disappeared by the 20-week scan.

It was only when Max arrived that he was diagnosed with the condition. Having worked with children with disabilities before, 43-year-old Rachel took it in her stride.

She said: “It was somewhat of a shock but it’s just one of those things, you just have to pick yourself up and get on with it.

“You just adapt. It’s your role as a parent isn’t it?”

For more information visit http://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/