Big Bear at Home
Big Bear at Home

I started busking during the early 80’s in Carmarthen (South Wales) and soon found myself going further afield eventually ending up in Paris and Amsterdam. During the six years I spent abroad I began to have mobility problems which affected my ability to go out busking. I returned to Carmarthen where the deteriorating mobility problems resulted in having my right leg amputated in 2010 and I am now a full time wheel chair user.

I have always been a blues fan and following the amputation I had more time to dedicate to my guitar playing. Naturally I found myself playing more blues numbers and started a monthly blues night at the Parrot Music Bar in Carmarthen before it closed in 2015. With the help of a few great friends I am able to get out to play if the location is accessible.

The access issue is a problem ~ almost everywhere. It is regrettable that almost every village, town and community hall have been let down by their local authorities who, in their interpretation of the Disability Discrimination Act have decided that people with disabilities do not engage in performing arts ~ of any type. Hence no accessible stages.

This has led to my involvement with disability issues and the beginning of a campaign to improve access information on websites proffering leisure and hospitality activities. Contrary to popular belief over 95% of websites in this category have no information at all. Anytime I want to go to a pub or a restaurant, a hotel or B&B, an ancient monument or country walk, a football or rugby match (or any sporting event) I need to find out if it is accessible or not. Has it got an accessible toilet? It is not unreasonable for wheel chair users to have this information available. I do not mind if it says a venue is not suitable for wheel chairs. At least I would know which is better that no info at all.

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