Happy Christmas Mr Geoffrey Clark

A Christmas Letter to former UKiP Candidate 

Mr Geoffrey Clark

Hayley Goleniowska

Dear Mr Clark

I appreciate that you are probably rather snowed under at the moment, but feel that a few minutes spent reading my letter might change your life as you know it.

Yesterday I enjoyed a rare treat of a day. The sort of pre-Christmas busy, but joyous, day that many white middle class stay-at-home British Mums are having around this time of year. There was last minute shopping for stocking fillers for our children or quirky unusual presents for my husband, planning delicious homemade traditional fayre for the big day, and hand delivering small, exquisitely, yet hastily, wrapped gifts and cards to local friends and loved ones.

Our evening was rounded off beautifully with a simple school carol concert in the village church, attended my many of the tight-knit community. Tears pricked in our eyes as we proudly watched our beautiful daughters take part in the singing and the much-rehearsed nativity scenes with their closest friends.

The congregation at the ceremony was attended by a myriad of families. Age, size, marriage, divorce, colour, belief, background, upbringing, income. Parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, many of them over 80, carers, foster carers. We all differ, yet happily we are all there for each other, joined by a common desire for the best for our offspring, and creating a richly woven fabric of life.

We returned home, read stories and tucked the tired little ones up in their beds with warm milk, before opening the Christmas cards received that day. A beautiful one, sent with love from the children's Godmothers; two wise and wonderful women who live in a same sex partnership that is more stable and loving and more supportive to those around them than most heterosexual relationships I know.

Of course this simple snapshot tells you just one fraction of what we really value in life. It outlines one small part of one day. Not a typical day, one I had kept free for myself to enjoy these family activities. I had put my 'work' on hold, hoping to ease off until after the Christmas break. The 'work' that I do, all of it unpaid, is write, and write to change the world. I do it gently, from within hearts. I show the way, inspire, support, bring people together with beauty and a touch of humour. I am the author of a blog called Downs Side Up.

For you see, one of the little church mice in tonight's play, the smallest and arguably cutest one, the only one to remember her line as she dashed through the congregation, was our daughter Natty. And Natty has Down's Syndrome. My motivation to change the way the world views this extra chromosome is personal.





Natty is 6, an ambassador, a teacher and melts hearts wherever she goes. She puts back far more into society than she takes from it, as she entertains, laughs, sings, dances, jokes, even models professionally. For EQ cannot be measured finacially. She intuitively watches out for the emotional needs of her classmates, always there for the needy, the upset, the ones with the bumped knees. You see Geoffery, a person's worth can never be measured in pounds coins.

I'm sure she would make a beeline for you if she ever met you, for your lovelessness and lack of understanding of the world is as great a disability as any, even more tragic in one who should be old and wise enough to know better by now. She would feel sorry for what you are missing out on, as indeed I do, my hurt and anger aside. I was ignorant about disability before Natty was born, as tragically anyone who was different was segregated as I grew up in Thatcher's Britain. I have since made up for that, and it is not too late for you too, to learn that inclusion is a two-way street. The only burden I have on my shoulders is tackling the misinformed.



Graduation day!


I have oft come across those who are ignorant or even purposely hurtful, the trolls of life. But my motto is to ignore them, not put air in their lungs by fuelling their hatred, to simply shine light on their darkness. You however, are not just very wrong and very bigotted in almost every opinion you voice, but you have a metaphorical microphone in your hand. That is dangerous, as dangerous as it was when Hilter stood and spewed his thoughts on eugenics. For that reason alone I am compelled to silence you in the only way I know how. So please Mr Clark, do not speak so hurtfully and nonsensically about matters on which you know absolutely nothing.

Instead take the time to remove the blinkers and enjoy the jigsaw of life around you. See what we can all learn from each other.

I wish you a Merry Christmas with your loved ones, although my mind's eye envisages an embarrassed brood of grown up children and a wife who wishes you had kept your mouth shut. And inbox full of hatred and your name smeared across every paper with an ounce of gumption. Bitterness fills the air. Unemployment looms. The turkey will taste very dry this year. The 'army' of people you have upset is far greater than the small collection of extremists 'fighters' you represent.

Do think of us, this family with a child with a disability, opening our stockings, scoffing mince pies for breakfast, giggling over a game of charades and singing along to Mary Poppins, breathing in beach air, sharing a drink with friends, tucking up on the sofa under a blanket, watching a fire and content in the knowledge that we have done the very best that we can for each other this year.

Yours sincerely

Hayley Goleniowska
(My husband's father was Polish, his mother Italian. They met in the UK after being invited to work here after WWII)

Author of www.downssideup.com






36 comments:

  1. Hayley - this is just wonderful, so eloquent. The man is a first class idiot. Our girls definitely give more to society than they take. They promote love and understanding. I have been taught lessons which have been me a far more tolerant person, a better person. He is destined to be a very lonely man.

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    1. You wonderful, full of love, lady. I wish you a very Merry Christmas with your family and friends.

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  2. I would like to think this well written letter composed with such thought and feeling is read by
    Mr Geoffry Clark

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    1. Thank you. I do so hope he gets to read it but am sure he is snowed under a lot of hate mate at the moment.

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  3. You've messed up here and made a pretty glaring error: Geoffrey Clark was a candidate for the council and was never due to stand in parliamentary elections as far as I can tell. (UKIP have never been elected to the House of Commons.)

    That said, I'm a UKIP member myself (and have autism as well, though not Down's syndrome, although I know a couple of people with that condition) and I agree with everything else you say here, and it's some lovely writing. The party have suspended him and are in the process of removing his membership.

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  4. I shall change my glaring errors Paul. I didn't really pay head to such minor details, it was more the human story that kept me writing into the wee small hours. Thank you for taking the time to read. H

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  5. Beautifully written, I have posted on our South Manchester Down Syndrome Support group Facebook site http://www.facebook.com/SMDSSG

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  6. Beautifully written, I have posted to our South Manchester Down Syndrome Support Group page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/SMDSSG

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  7. Hayley, On behalf of my daughter and our family, thank you! That is beautiful :) I wrote more of a 'howler'! Your letter is just amazing and from the heart. I hope that you and your gorgeous family have an amazing Christmas xx

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    1. You are welcome. Howlers are good too :) (It's what my heart wanted to do x)

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  8. An absolutely wonderful letter there Hayley. Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas xxxxx

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  9. Hayley, I read your blog regularly and always look forward to the next installment. Thank you for such a heartfelt and honest letter which will hopefully open up the eyes of the many ignorant people who are still around. Merry Christmas! x

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  10. Sending Love to you and your lovely family Hayley, your letter really touched my heartxx

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  11. A wonderful letter. One of my best friends has Down Syndrome. I will be proud to have her walk down the aisle behind me as a bridesmaid in April. I cherish her friendship. We should share our experiences of how beautiful and ordinary life can be with these exceptional people and try to change the way the world perceives them. They have real value in our lives and communities.

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  12. Hayley Goleniowska, I applaud you, and your gorgeous daughter..
    and all other parents raising children with any disability xx

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  13. Hayley Goleniowska, I applaud you, and your gorgeous daughter..
    and all other parents raising children with any disability xx

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  14. When I read this this morning Hayley I knew it was just perfect, watching the many more people read, share and tweet it during the day I again stand in awe at how you take the dignified route and rather than shout and scream you eloquently make your point so very clear in a way that is often so difficult. You are a wonderful advocate for parents and children alike, an amazing mother to Natty and a inspiration to many (me included!)

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  15. When I read this this morning Hayley I knew it was just perfect, watching the many more people read, share and tweet it during the day I again stand in awe at how you take the dignified route and rather than shout and scream you eloquently make your point so very clear in a way that is often so difficult. You are a wonderful advocate for parents and children alike, an amazing mother to Natty and a inspiration to many (me included!)

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  16. I will share your beautifully crafted words.

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  17. Wonderful post. Perfect in so many ways.

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  18. So well put. Thanks Natty and Natty's Mum from everyone that wants change.

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  19. LOVE this. That man is an imbecile and if anyone should be silenced, it's him. Thanks for sharing!

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  20. Thank you Hayley, I truly hope he reads it and issues an apology (though I doubt he will)
    We work so hard to make people see just how more LIKE children of their age than UNLIKE them our children are, that things like this, which only help us to take a step backwards, make me so bloody angry!
    From a mum of 3 yr old twins, one of whom has DS (see, I can safely say that I do know how like another child of 3 my beautiful baby girl is!!)
    Mel Prescott xx

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  21. So beautifully written. I hope it reaches him! He is a fool x

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  22. that was lovely to read and just couldnt have been put any better. good on you!

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  23. Absolutely wonderfully written, I also have a 9 year old precious, much loved son with Down's Syndrome, we would not swap for the world. I am just smiling thinking how embarrassed dear old Geoffrey must feel, what a complete idiot, but then again he probably did it for 15 mins of fame as that is the only way he could be noticed. Would much rather be noticed for a kind nature, generous with love and hugs and funny just like my boy.
    Well done to you

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  24. Well said, and beautifully written. I am a support worker who works with several people with downs.

    Just the other day it took just a few seconds, for one of the girls I work with, to make me smile as soon as I walked through the door. I wish Mr Clark could have seen this.

    Keep up the good work.

    Dylan

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  25. Well said, and beautifully written. I am a support worker and work with several people with Down's. Each and everyone one brings a smile to my face and makes my job so enjoyable and rewarding.
    I wish Mr Clark could visit the respite home I work in and see for himself how much of a contribution people, from all walks of life, make to society.

    If one good thing has come from his ramblings, is that I have heard some great stories, and seen some even better photos on twitter.

    Keep up the good work.

    Merry Christmas, Dylan.

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  26. This is beautifully written Helen. Well done. I wish I had the ability to write the way you have, if I did I would have said exactly the same thing (my little 5 year was also a shining star in her school nativity) xxx

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  27. Hayley, this is lovely, thanks. I cited you in my own blog about our daughter with DS (and other stuff). I hope you don't mind, you can read here: misliterature.wordpress.com

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