She ain't heavy: in 2009, Southend-on-Sea borough council placed
an advertisement in the Church Times for a "loving, caring
home" for a girl, aged three, who had cerebal palsy, a feeding tube
in her stomach, and an eye condition.
The Revd Diane Couture, Rector of the Whitacres, Lea Marston,
and Shustoke, and her husband saw the advert, and, three years
later, they are the adoptive parents of Chloe, who is now six. She
is eating, signing, and speaking, and has also had surgery for her
Mr Couture has experience of teaching special-needs adolescents,
and now helps at Woodlands School, in Coleshill, Birmingham, where
Chloe is a pupil. The couple are in the process of establishing a
charity, the Ladybirds Trust, as "so many people are interested in
what we are doing."
On Wednesday, Mr Couture was due to climb St Paul's Cathedral,
Tower Bridge, the Monument, and the Heron Tower, with his daughter
on his back, to raise money for the school.
"Chloe absolutely adores it," Mrs Couture said last Friday,
"partly because he is quite tall; so she can see quite a lot; and,
in the wheelchair, they can only go so far."
To make a donation, phone 01675 481 252, or email diane.mawbey@