Couple’s charity trek in aid of deaf niece

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A husband and wife team from Bearsden have taken on a 
96-mile trek across the 
Highlands for the charity that is helping their deaf niece learn to talk.

Robert and Lorna McMurray took on the West Highland Way in support of two-year-old Grace, who was born 
profoundly deaf.

The challenge saw the couple trek six days from Milngavie to Fort William.

So far, they have collected more than £1,000 for Auditory Verbal UK which is helping Grace learn to talk.

Dad Jorge Villon, from London, said: “Grace was diagnosed as having bilateral profound hearing loss at two months old after failing the newborn hearing test three times.

“We were devastated and immediately researched and then explored options for her. Our objective was that Grace have the same opportunities in life as a hearing child.”

Grace was fitted with two cochlear implants and is now on Auditory Verbal UK’s specialist early intervention programme at the charity’s London centre in Bermondsey. Auditory Verbal therapists use play-based techniques to equip the parents of deaf children with the skills to teach their child to listen and talk.

Jorge added: “Auditory Verbal Therapy has helped us learn to speak to Grace and to listen to her. Together, the communication techniques we have learned has enabled her to enrich her vocabulary, understand conversation rather than just words or sentences and has prepared her well to enter into mainstream education. She is doing amazingly well at nursery.

“I cannot say where we would be had we not found AVUK, but as a sensible guess, I imagine Grace would have a less rich vocabulary, less meaningful exchange of ideas and conversation and we would be struggling as parents to try to do better in teaching her to listen and speak.”

Robert (52) added: “When Lorna and I decided to walk the 96 mile West Highland Way, we thought that our pain should be someone else’s gain. We decided Auditory Verbal UK should benefit because they have made a material difference to the life and life chances of our niece Grace.”

“We are confident that the money raised by our endeavours will be put to good 
use by AVUK and will benefit deaf children and their families.”

To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thelonggrace-fulwalk.

For more information about Auditory Verbal UK visit: http://www.avuk.org.