‘Thomas is a happy boy who smiles and laughs all the time’

Bangor Mail - - WRITTEN BY YOU -

A MICHE­LIN-starred restau­rant – that was booked out for the whole of 2018 by the end of last Jan­uary – is re­leas­ing a new batch of ta­bles for next year.

Sos­ban and The Old Butch­ers Restau­rant, in Menai Bridge, was opened six years ago by Stephen and Bethan Stevens and be­came an in­stant hit with food­ies.

By 2016 it had re­ceived its first Miche­lin star – the ul­ti­mate ac­co­lade for restau­rants – and se­cur­ing a ta­ble has be­come a chal­lenge.

WThe cou­ple last opened their reser­va­tion book in Jan­uary, and within 48 hours it was booked out for the re­main­der of 2018.

But book­ings for 2019 opened on Mon­day morn­ing and food lovers who are quick off the mark should hurry to se­cure a ta­ble on their web­site.

The re­lease will cover the first six months of next year.

The restau­rant has 16 cov­ers and opens three nights a week, with a lunch ser­vice in the sum­mer. HEN lit­tle Thomas Wil­liams was born, his par­ents, Lucy and Paul, and big sis­ter, Emily, were de­lighted to wel­come the new ad­di­tion to their fam­ily.

Every­thing seemed fine, but the next morn­ing, Lucy no­ticed a rash on her baby’s face and hands. The in­fant had an in­fec­tion and was rushed to the neona­tal unit where medics no­ticed that Thomas’ head was small.

He was just 11 days old when he was di­ag­nosed with a life-threat­en­ing brain con­di­tion that lim­its his mo­bil­ity and move­ment.

It was a mo­ment that changed the fam­ily’s lives for­ever.

Never able to walk, talk or even sup­port his own head, the fam­ily took Thomas home, not sure what the fu­ture had in store.

But he con­tin­ued to sur­prise them and now they want to raise aware­ness of the chil­dren’s hos­pice that sup­ported them and helped make their lives eas­ier.

Thomas, from Tyn-y-Gongl, An­gle­sey, is now seven years old, he needs to be fully sup­ported in a wheel­chair, strug­gles to see prop­erly, is fed through a tube and his com­mu­ni­ca­tion is limited to cry­ing and laugh­ing.

But it’s his laugh that makes every­thing worth­while.

Lucy, who had to give up her ca­reer as a solic­i­tor to care for Thomas, said: “Soon af­ter Thomas was born, he de­vel­oped an in­fec­tion and, while he was on the neona­tal unit, they mea­sured his head and no­ticed it was small and out of pro­por­tion to his body.

“Af­ter tests, he was di­ag­nosed with polymi­cr­o­gyria and mi­cro­cephaly, which we’d never heard of at the time. We just knew it would have an im­pact on his de­vel­op­ment.

“He had other con­nected prob­lems too but, af­ter three weeks, we took him home, not know­ing what to ex­pect as they couldn’t tell us how se­vere his

De­spite the huge de­mand, there are no plans to ex­pand.

Bethan told our sis­ter pa­per the Daily Post: “We are not driven by lin­ing our pock­ets, we want to cre­ate a din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and our drive is to keep im­prov­ing what we do.

“We never stand still, we al­ways think we can do things bet­ter.

“Steve is a per­fec­tion­ist so al­ways thinks a dish can im­prove.” con­di­tion would be.

“The only dif­fer­ence be­tween him and his sis­ter when he was such a small baby was that he had trou­ble sleep­ing be­cause of re­flux.

“It was when he was 18 months old that he was fit­ted with a tube.”

As Lucy and Paul cared for their baby, they were en­cour­aged to think about get­ting sup­port from a chil­dren’s hos­pice.

“We were re­luc­tant be­cause we were afraid to see what his fu­ture may hold,” ad­mit­ted Lucy. “It wasn’t un­til Thomas was one that we de­cided to take him.

“We needed sup­port and a break so we could recharge our bat­ter­ies and the op­por­tu­nity to spend some qual­ity time with our daugh­ter, Emily.

“We also wanted Thomas to be able to interact and have fun with other chil­dren.”

She added: “When we came to Tŷ Gobaith Chil­dren’s Hos­pice, we were so glad we did. It wasn’t what we thought it would be, it was bet­ter and it felt right.”

Since then, Thomas has been go­ing to Tŷ Gobaith for respite and, of­ten, Lucy, Paul and Emily stay with him.

Emily gets the chance to spend time and have fun with Thomas, and other broth­ers and sis­ters who un­der­stand what it is like to live with a sib­ling with a life-threat­en­ing con­di­tion.

Lucy and Paul can take the chance to re­lax and recharge. They don’t need to worry about Thomas, the nurses are there to look af­ter his med­i­cal needs so they can con­cen­trate on spend­ing pre­cious time to­gether and mak­ing spe­cial mem­o­ries.

Lucy added: “Thomas is a happy lit­tle boy who smiles and laughs all the time.

“He loves be­ing sur­rounded by peo­ple, go­ing on trips on the minibus and hav­ing fun in the play­room.

“But, his favourite ac­tiv­ity is the Eye Gaze, a spe­cial com­puter which en­ables him to com­mu­ni­cate and interact, just us­ing his eyes.

“We all work tire­lessly to look af­ter him and com­ing to Tŷ Gobaith gives us a chance to switch off from be­ing full-time car­ers and fo­cus on be­ing a fam­ily.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the hos­pice visit www.hope­house.org.uk

Thomas Wil­liams with his mum Lucy, dad Paul and sis­ter Emily. Thomas was just 11 days old when he was di­ag­nosed with a life-threat­en­ing brain con­di­tion that lim­its his mo­bil­ity and move­ment

Sos­ban and the Old Butch­ers in Menai Bridge

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