I have know Zoe Edge for many years – or rather, I have known of her for many years. Zoe is the best known supporter of Chesterfield FC  and was quite rightly voted their best supporter in May 2016.

Zoe lives in Clowne, a small town in the beautiful town of Derbyshire. 42 year old Zoe suffers from a version of Cerebral Palsy .

I have long admired Zoe’s commitment to attending Chesterfield matches, both home and away. She is a warm and friendly person who is well liked and respected by all that really know her.

The emergence of Social Media (especially Facebook) has given Zoe the opportunity to overcome her severe speech problem…and to show the world how bright, intelligent, funny and determined she is. I have learned that it may take Zoe up to an hour to force her disobedient arm to write the shortest of sentences. It is both remarkable and humbling to see her wriggling her thumb through a special keyboard filter to choose her words. A short sentence can take up to an hour but Zoe does this without compliant; carrying out the task of communicating with determination in her eyes and a genuine smile on her face.

This is one of the best aspects of Social Media. Despite the criticism that this new obsession gets, Facebook gives Zoe her voice and a platform to ensure people know the depth of her personality and her intelligence. Zoe’s body may misbehave but her mind is razor sharp and her personality is a happy one. Zoe loves her life and is truly grateful for what she has.

Early in June 2016, my wife and I attended a charity event at the home of Chesterfield FC, The Proact Stadium 

After the event, we were waiting for a taxi to take us home. 30 minutes time had passed and it appears we have been overlooked by our chosen taxi firm. As we stood in the drizzling rain, Zoe passed with her parents Dillis and Mick. The three of them kindly offered us a lift home to Clowne.

On the 25 minute journey home, I settled into a seat beside Zoe. I had said hello to Zoe a few times at matches but I had never had a proper chat with her. With the help of translation form her dad Mick, Zoe asked me what I did for work. I explained that I did marketing and some video work. Zoe immediately picked up on this and said she needed a video for a secret project.  I said I would happily help if I could and encouraged her to message me about what she needed on Facebook. Zoe is a prolific user of Facebook and I knew she could communicate with me this way.

The next day, I received a long message from Zoe. It literally took my breath away.

I was both moved, inspired and humbled. In the message, Zoe explained her disability, her previous sporting medals and her secret project. I immediately wanted to be part of the team that Zoe needed to help bring her secret project to life.

On 22nd June 2016, I invited Zoe to present her project at the superb Hotel Van Dyk and our Unique Network gathering. Zoe prepared a speech about her secret project and I read it out on her behalf.

The secret project has several aspects but a key part of it is that Zoe wants to be a model. As part of this dream,  Zoe wants to produce a calendar that shows her posing in various positions.

The calendar will be launched at a special event in October 2016 and will be sold to raise funds for the Fountindale School and for Chesterfield FC Community Trust.

Raising funds for these two charities is Zoe’s real objective and where the true passion behind the project resides. However, she also wants to show that her disability does not always get in the way of accomplishing life goals.

As I stood in front of a maximum capacity of 80 people at our Unique Network gathering and read out Zoe’s speech for her, I hoped for a positive response to Zoe’s secret project and that some of my members would want to help. I was not wrong about the desire to help but even I was overwhelmed with the positive response we enjoyed.

Please read below those people that stepped forward with their willingness and desire to help.

  • Sheffield Sharks basketball Captain, Mike Tuck and Boxer Navid Mansouri immediately offered their help for special photographs.
  • Designer Richard Dane agreed to design Zoe’s special calendar
  • Nikki Clifford of NJUK agreed to do Hair & Design for one photo shoot
  • Deon Jacobs donated back a £250 Food & Drink voucher that he won from Hotel Van Dyk
  • Rachel Egley offered her children’s entertainment services free of charge to raise funds
  • Wendy Majhen offered her Counselling Services as a fundraising tool
  • The Sheffield Sharks Basketball  CEO Sarah Backovic  invited Zoe as her VIP Guest and agreed she could fundraise at the game
  • Fiona Stubbs, the Editor of Pure Magazine, said she would write an editorial about Zoe’s project
  • Elastic FM, Clowne’s Community Radio Station said they provide ongoing coverage of Zoe’s project
  • Hotel Van Dyk said they would consider helping in any way they could

I write this Blog not for personal praise or recognition (those who know me well will confirm I am not into that)  but as genuine thanks to Zoe and some of my good hearted Unique Network members for their kind support.

If you read this want to be part of Zoe’s team of helpers, please email me via david@theuniquenetwork.com

If you want to listen to more about Zoe, please find below an interview I did with her…and her mum and dad, Dillis & Mick .