The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Meg raises money for charity

Those who have followed my blog for a long time might recall my son's home-baking business, which lasted for a couple of years while he was at school. It paid for various school trips, put money towards music festival tickets, and even a laptop. Sadly, for reasons only understood by teenagers, he lost interest in it.

However, he wasn't the only one of our offspring to have benefited from the skill and tutelage of my wife's considerable alchemical ability to mix flour, eggs, butter and additional items into mouthwateringly scrumptious edibles. Our daughter, Meg, has also shown a keen mastery of this near-occult practice.

Because Meg has Down's Syndrome, it's too easy for people to dismiss, to ignore, to write her off by focusing on cognitive areas where she is unable to match those in the non-DS population. Indeed, some are unable to get past seeing the DS and assume it is somehow her defining characteristic.

Of course if you talk to anyone who actually knows her, it becomes clear pretty quickly the DS is only one aspect of who Meg is and certainly not the defining one.

This weekend past felt like a new line had been crossed that could be thrown in the face of the naysayers when she raised money for charity by selling her gluten-free home-baked goodies at the annual Galloway Children's Festival in Kirkcudbright.

A young woman and her scrumptious home-baking

Meg has coeliac - a condition meaning she is gluten intolerant and has to avoid a whole range of products which contain normal flour and oats (the list is huge!) - so with the help of her Mum they have researched all sorts of recipes to find sweet-treats that don't feel like second best.

Gluten free chocolate cookies, peanut butter cookies, rocky-road (pictured), flapjack, lemon cupcakes, and vanilla cupcakes with icing were all created by Meg to sell from her stall.

Unfortunately I didn't get to sample any of Meg's Rocky-Road as it was one of the first items to completely sell out

Then on Sunday, we headed down to Kirkcudbright with our boxes of goodies, cake-stands, tablecloth and a gazebo and Meg and I set out our pitch.

Daughter and Father ready for the punters

Within 3 hours we had completely sold out.

We even had some people coming back to tell Meg just how much they had enjoyed her creations.

Meg had been clear from the start she wanted the profits not for herself, but to go to charity, and the one she chose was Machars RDA (Riding for the Disabled), as for the past few years she has been going there with the school every 2nd Wednesday during term time, learning to ride. For a long time it was mostly sitting on the horse as it was lead by helpers, but more recently she has started riding the horses unaided. She has gained a huge amount from the experience and she felt it was only right they should benefit from her efforts in return.

After we'd added up the total sales (£85) and taken out the cost of pitch at the fair and the ingredients for the baking, we calculated she had raised £48.32 for her chosen charity.

I can't begin to explain just how proud of her we are.


Carole Morden said...

So cool

Kateri Von Steal said...

1) "shown a keen mastery of this near-occult practice." <-- I choked on my water.
2) I've almost learned how to bake... I haven't killed any of my immediate family.. yet.
3) I love how she wanted to pay it forward. She is a beautiful soul.

Great post!

Mary Smith said...

The Rocky Road looks scrumptious and I love the sound of peanut butter and chocolate cookies. Let me know next time Meg has her baking hat on!

Ponita in Real Life said...

How excellent!! I have volunteered at a riding for the disabled stable in the past. It was a wonderful experience for the riders and the volunteers. :-)

I have a sister and niece who are both celiacs (Cdn spelling)and was wondering if Meg would share her rocky road recipe. They are coming to visit this weekend and I'd love to be able to make this for them. (You can tell her I said 'pretty please with a cherry on top!')

Guyana-Gyal said...

Hi Meg, you are one smart, talented and pretty young lady! I'm here, sitting in my sister's home, telling her all about you.

My sister's asking questions too, and nodding.

Kim, when I told my sister this: 'for reasons only understood by teenagers, he lost interest in it' she nodded, said, Mm-hmm. [She has 2 teen boys].

maurcheen said...

What a wonderfully talented and beautiful young lady. I can feel ye'r pride from here. That Rocky Road looks scrumptious! I hope to get to meet ye all before too long. I will give plenty of notice so as ye can have all the goodies baked! ;-)

Hindsfeet said...

good on 'er, and you too, Kim.....she's a very lucky girl to have you for a dad.....

...maybe a little career path unfolding for Meg there, huh? I have a client who's daughter is a pastry chef and loves it......

fun thought....

Kim Ayres said...

Carole - :)

Katerei - there are several photos of me on this blog. The best way to find them are to click on the "appearance" label - or click here - and scroll back through them :)

Mary - if she decides to do this regularly, we'll probably set up a Facebook page or something and I'll send you the link :)

Ponita - I've made some enquiries and it turns out they use a Nigella Lawson recipe, but just substitute the rich-tea biscuits for gluten-free digestive biscuits. Basically you're looking for a gluten-free plain cookies (if I remember rightly, in North America biscuits are something different to what we have in the UK, so just think COOKIES). We can buy them here in the local supermarket which has a "free from" section with various gluten-free, nut-free or lactose-free foods, although they are often 3 times the price of their ordinary equivalents. Anyway, here's the link:

Guyana-Gyal - I didn't understand the way teenagers thought when I was a teenager, so I have even less understanding now... :)

Maurcheen - email me your preference and I'll stick an order in :)

Liz - the thought of her building a small gluten-free-goodies empire has already crossed my mind. However I had similar plans of global domination for my son a couple of years ago, but he couldn't be bothered...

Ponita in Real Life said...

Thanks, Kim and Meg! I found the recipe and yes, our grocery stores have whole gluten free sections, so this should be easy to do.

Kim Ayres said...

Ponita - hope the recipe worked out :)

Pat said...

Again I'm reminded of the painting of the girl behind the bar, and Meg looks totally at home.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - Meg enjoyed herself and was delighted we sold everything :)

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