Emma came to live at Botton Village nearly thirty years ago, and arrived at a time of great loss; her mother had passed away only two weeks before.
It was her mother's dearest wish that Emma would find a home where she would have support, friendship and opportunities to lead a full and happy life. And in fact, Emma's place at Botton was confirmed just in time to give her mother that peace of mind.
Feeling safe and valued
Living first in The Lodge, then at Martin House and Falcon House, allowed Emma to come to know and trust many people. Today she makes her home in Hall North, where Laura is a key support to her.
'Here, everybody knows Emma, and she knows them', says Laura. 'I think she feels safe, and valued. She loves being part of a community.'
At Botton, Emma also found her calling as a weaver. The handwoven items of clothing and tableware she makes at the village Weavery are wonderful – if you came to our Open Day at Botton this year, you'll have seen them for sale. 'Emma’s work is really meaningful to her', Laura says.
Speaking through music
'Emma has autism, and often sings and communicates through songs', Laura continues. 'The old saying, that “music helps us speak words we can’t always express“, really is true for her.'
So this year, when Emma turned 50, music was right at the heart of the celebrations Laura organised with family and friends in the community's Joan of Arc Hall.
'Emma sang her favourite songs, like Yellow Submarine and All Things Bright and Beautiful', Laura remembers. 'People stood up and shared their fond memories, from how they first met Emma, to good times at work and on holiday together.'
As you can see from the photographs here, it was a very happy occasion.