A Surrey based charity is hoping to give the gift of independence this year as it launches its 2023 Christmas appeal.

Tying in with National Sock Day (Monday 4th December), Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled people (QEF) is encouraging everyone to support its ‘Christmas Socks’ campaign by wearing their favourite, most fabulous festive socks at home, work or school on National Sock Day and donating £2 to QEF.

QEF supports disabled people of all ages and those with acquired neurological disabilities to achieve their potential and be as independent as possible. The charity currently supports almost 10,000 disabled children and adults annually and has recently built its Care and Rehabilitation Centre in the heart of Surrey which is a modern and comfortable centre of neuro rehabilitation expertise.

Someone who understands the importance of the charity’s work is Neil Duggan from Croydon who was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome earlier this year, a rare condition which attacks your nerve endings, and which almost totally paralysed him. He spent 10 weeks at QEF’s Care and Rehabilitation Centre receiving expert therapy to help him rebuild his life. He is now living independently at home again.

He said: “The minute I was transferred from hospital to QEF’s Care and Rehabilitation Centre, I felt positive. I had privacy and space to rest, daily therapy, and amazing care provided by specialist, expert staff.  You might think the big goals drive you on in your rehabilitation. But it’s the small milestones that get you there.

“I cried with joy when I used the toilet unaided. I’ll never forget the morning I moved from a wheelchair to a walking frame. And I can’t tell you how happy I was to put my own socks on.  Because that moment is about more than socks… it was a step towards regaining my independence. QEF gave me back the most important thing: my independence. It was the best gift I ever received, and I hope others can help people like me this Christmas and support the charity’s appeal.”

Hayley Mackin, Head of Events and Community at QEF added: “After a neurological illness or acquired disability an everyday task like being able to put your own socks on can become a challenge. It can be a frightening time when everything you know has changed and your independence is under threat. So our Christmas Sock appeal has an important message behind it as well as being an opportunity to have a bit of fun with our festive socks.

This National Sock Day we would love for everyone to get behind our ‘Christmas Socks’ campaign and have fun helping raise awareness and vital funds for QEF’s work along the way, all in support of enabling people to take steps towards independence once again.

“It’s so simple to be part of the fun you just need to wear your most fantastic socks – think odd, colourful, jazzy, and Christmas – and make a donation to QEF. We would also love to see everyone sharing their photos on social media and tagging us #QEFChristmasSocks.”

 To find out more about the appeal please www.qef.org.uk/appeal/christmas-socks/