My name is Lorna Marsh.

I live in Hove, very close to BrightonI receive Direct Payments so I have a 24 hour package and I am supported by an agency.

I was one of the first five apprentices at Orpheus in the very beginning. I worked with Richard to help raise money to set up Orpheus; I have known him since I was about 15 years old, I was in the play Shadows I wrote the opening piece. I was at Orpheus for a year and a half. Richard help me get into LIPA where I studied dance. I was the first woman in an electric wheelchair to get a dance degree with honours in the UK. However, my first and ongoing passion in performing arts is creative writing.

When I was at Orpheus in the very beginning they only had residents -it was very different to how you know it now. People with no background in care used to do facilitation, so someone who had choreography knowledge would be helping me to bed,  or it could be someone who specialise in playing a certain instrument, it wasn't divided!  How it is now, obviously, is much more of a college.  It was five people, six including Richard, who had an interest in theatre and a thirst for knowledge, using a beautiful exclusive environment.  It was a fabulous close-knit, creative experience and one that I'm very grateful for!

I really enjoyed the freedom to be creative every day. Space to be Lorna. Not ‘Lorna has cerebral palsy Lorna the writer/choreographer.  It was never about being disabled or needing care; it was just about being you. The opportunities were incredible, but Glastonbury has to be one of the best; my wheelchair broke down halfway through the performance, so that always sticks out in my mind! I developed skills in creative writing and choreography.

I have some special memoires that stand out from my time at Orpheus, I got the opportunity to meet Joanna Lumley - she has always been someone I really respected.  I met many other people when I was there and was always able to conduct myself appropriately, but the day I met Joanna Lumley, I got completely starstruck and couldn't speak! Very embarrassing, as I know she's a good friend of Richard and she actually asked him if I could talk; and with a big smile on his face he said usually!

I don’t have as much contact with Orpheus as I would like these days but I am still in touch with Richard and his family it was actually lovely because they were able to make it to my 40th in Hove.

When people ask me about Orpheus I say, its one fantastic experience that can never be repeated and one that I'm very glad I was part of!!

In my old job at Surrey Independent living Council SILC are used to come back to Orpheus and help people set up this packages for independent living. For the last two years I have been working with dogs helping owners understand the psychology of them for a stronger relationship. I have recently written a book called 'Seven Questions' it's about the language and terminology used in social care is written from a personal angle but also a professional one with plenty of case studies and a testimonial as well. 

Seven Questions

This manifesto offers a personal and professional reflection on living with disability and what it is like to navigate your way within the care industry, whether as a recipient or provider of care services. It is about the language around health and social care and the need to pay attention to it. The manifesto was written to encourage discussion, enhance choice and open opportunities for positive changes in how disability is perceived for future generations. It’s available for purchase on Amazon!