ONE of Warrington’s most popular annual events will be held virtually this weekend.

Disability Awareness Day has now been a fixture of the town’s calendar for nearly 30 years.

And while this year’s expo at Walton Hall and Gardens was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will instead take place online this Sunday, October 25.

The DAD site has been recreated on a dedicated website on which virtual attendees can visit more than 200 individual stalls for live chats over the web on support, advice and guidance for disabled people.

Warrington Guardian:

A full line-up of performers is booked for the virtual version of the Arts Marquee, including former Britain’s Got Talent winner Lost Voice Guy.

Event founder Dave Thompson, chief executive of Warrington Disability Partnership, said: “This year, more 200 virtual exhibitor stands have been booked, as well as an impressive line-up of performers in the Arts Marquee – with 2018 Britain’s Got Talent winner Lee Ridley, best known as Lost Voice Guy, heading the bill.

Warrington Guardian:

“Plus, more than a dozen organisations will be promoting a wide variety of inclusive sports and activities such as scuba diving, cycling, wheelchair rugby and basketball, dance, angling and Tai Chi.

“DADV2020 is dedicated to the memories of two members of the DAD team who have sadly died of coronavirus, Peter Ives and Colin Whitfield – who, together, contributed nearly 50 years of voluntary work to DAD and WDP.

“Exhibitors from across the region, the UK and as far afield as Israel and Australia will be showcasing their products and services.”

The main event will then be followed by nine free one-hour workshops over Zoom, running until October 30.

Tony Brown, managing director of principle event sponsors Expanse Learning Group, added: “We are all excited about the potential impact of DAD Virtual.

“Here at Expanse, we learn from other organisations who are delivering education and support to young disabled people and we love to share our achievements across the industry.

“DAD Virtual provides us with the platform to do both.”

The virtual Disability Awareness Day will go live at 10am on Sunday at

WARRINGTON Disability Partnership has been praised in Parliament ahead of its virtual Disability Awareness Day this weekend.

During a Westminster debate over the government’s Covid-19 response in relation to disabilities, Warrington South MP Andy Carter said: “Throughout this coronavirus pandemic, it is only right that we don’t leave anyone behind – whether that be through someone’s background, their employment, their ethnicity or indeed a disability impediment.

“In normal times, the partnership would be putting on an event at Walton Hall for around 200 exhibitors attracting interest from all over the World.

“But knowing the need for information and advice, particularly during this pandemic, they have taken it all online hosting the same number of exhibitions providing practical advice to anyone that needs it.

“Sometimes, this can be as simple as picking up the phone to someone who is shielding or living alone.”

The charity’s cofounder and chief executive Dave Thompson was ‘honoured and excited’ to receive a namecheck in Parliament.

He said: “Warrington Disability Partnership were honoured and excited to hear our name mentioned so positively by Andy in Parliament last week.

“Hearing him encourage the minister to endorse the event was very promising and has even resulted in Justin Tomlinson MP doing a video for one of our virtual events.

“I’ve always believed in life about being in the right place and the right time, and we seem to have struck a chord with virtual proceedings and attracted some of the biggest names in the disability sector.

“We genuinely have captured people’s imaginations and shown what is possible in a virtual world, attracting interest from all over and putting Warrington on the map.”