Student Lucas in London to support Down Syndrome Bill


A STUDENT from Haslingden High School travelled to London to support the second reading of the Down Syndrome Bill that is currently going through Parliament.

Lucas Shatliff, 15, from Helmshore left home at 7.30am with his dad Phil and travelled by train to Euston then used the underground to join a national gathering at the George V statue, opposite the Queen’s entrance to the Palace of Westminster.

Lucas, who has Down Syndrome, said: “The tube was brilliant, it was noisy and there were lots of people on it. I was going there to support the Down Syndrome Bill.

“I had my picture taken with Dr Liam Fox MP and I was on national TV.”

Dr Fox has proposed the Bill, which is aiming to place a duty of care on local authorities to assess the likely social care needs of persons with Down Syndrome and to plan provision accordingly.

Phil, who is also manager of East Lancashire Down’s Syndrome Support Group, said: “We had a couple of other families from East Lancashire who also attended.

“The Bill is being supported by the Government, which is brilliant. Outside there were quite a lot of people and we got to talk to Sir Charles Walker, who used to be the Chairman of the 1922 committee. He was there supporting one of his constituents and it was through him we asked if Dr Liam Fox could meet Lucas.

“Dr Fox explained to Lucas what he was doing and the processes the Bill has to go through to become an Act so that it can make things happen.

“He also said that when he started practicing as a GP the life expectancy for a person with Down Syndrome was 13, when he finished in medicine it was up to 30 and now it can be 60+.

“There is a generation of children with Down Syndrome who will now go on to outlive their parents and so having proper care and support for people with Down Syndrome is very important.

The Bill is now in the ‘committee’ stage, where its contents will be examined in detail and could be subject to amendments.

Lucas is supported in school by Learning Support Teaching Assistant Lee Trickett whom he described as being ‘like my second dad’.

In January, Lucas will begin his transition to further study at St Christopher’s Sixth Form College, in Accrington, where he will be on a vocational pathway course.