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22nd May, 2022

Not a dry eye - sign language song melts hearts at Redditch nursery

A REDDITCH mum is singing the praises of Ragamuffins Nursery on Birmingham Road for the endless care they give her son Oliver.

Oliver, aged three, was born with Down Syndrome and a condition called Posterior Urethral Valves which has left him with badly damaged kidneys.

He spent the first eight weeks of his life at Birmingham Childrens Hospital where staff saved his life and he’s since undergone seven operations to correct his PUV, said his mum Rachel Pierpoint.

Since then Oliver has found a place in the hearts of all the staff at Ragamuffins where they chose Birmingham Childrens Hospital as their Christmas charity.

To raise money staff did a static bike ride covering the distance from Redditch to Amsterdam – 457 miles – and held a raffle with prizes donated by parents and local businesses, raising more than £900 in the process.

To cap it all at the Christmas concert parents were stunned to see the children perform Christina Perri’s ‘A Thousand Years’ using Makaton sign language, inspired by the same song performed by the Wouldn’t Change a Thing group of 50 mums of Down Syndrome children.

“It’s Oliver’s favourite song and I was overwhelmed by it – all the parents were so touched,” said Rachel.

“They did it so that Oliver, who is non-verbal, felt included. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

“For me the staff at Ragamuffins are amazing and his key worker Chloe Arthur does so much for him – they all do.”

Chloe said: “Every year we have a carol concert and we do about seven songs, and I thought it was a shame that Oliver couldn’t join in.

“Oliver’s mum had told us about his favourite song and me and my colleague Jess Roberts thought we could it in Makaton.

“So all the staff learned it and then we all taught the children but kept it from mum.

“Then when we performed it Oliver could join in too and everyone was crying and it was a wonderful moment.”

Not only that but thanks to their fundraising efforts the nursery was named a ‘Birmingham Mail Superstar’ and also received a Charity Champions Award from Birmingham Childrens Hospital.

“It’s all thoroughly deserved – they do so much for Oliver,” said Rachel.

n To see Wouldn’t Change A Thing perform A Thousand Years in Makaton, search on YouTube.

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