One big cel­e­bra­tion of lit­tle peo­ple!

Once a year, a very spe­cial gather­ing takes place in the UK that leaves ev­ery­one who at­tends up­lifted and in­spired…

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De­spite wear­ing flats, 5ft 4in Heather Smith tow­ers above her fam­ily. She walks across the crowded ho­tel re­cep­tion area with her hus­band Paul, and their chil­dren, Jack, 13, and Erin, nine, fol­low­ing be­hind.

But, for once, no one stops to look or make rude com­ments. This is the one place the fam­ily can com­pletely re­lax.

It’s the 6th an­nual Lit­tle Peo­ple UK char­ity con­ven­tion, held ear­lier this month in Le­ices­ter. For hun­dreds of peo­ple from the UK’s dwarf com­mu­nity and their fam­i­lies, this event is the high­light of the year. It’s a week­end of in­valu­able ad­vice, friend­ship and fun.

Chil­dren and adults alike zoom around on trikes, mo­bil­ity scoot­ers and Seg­ways – not just for fun, but be­cause dwarfism causes painful back and hip prob­lems – from one ac­tiv­ity to the next.

The jam-packed itin­er­ary in­cludes a fam­ily game of rounders, a cook­ing demo, a panel of doc­tors to of­fer tai­lored med­i­cal ad­vice and an 80s fancy-dress disco.

‘Here, there’s no rea­son to be self-con­scious,’ says Heather, 34, from Not­ting­ham. ‘No one stares at us or takes pho­tos.’

For 3ft 11in Paul and his kids, it’s a rare chance to see oth­ers who look just like them.

‘I’d never even met an­other dwarf un­til I was 13!’ says Paul, 41. ‘My par­ents were of av­er­age height, as is my brother.

‘I wasn’t treated any dif­fer­ently. I just found ways to do things. My dad made me a wooden box to stand on and I’d use a stick or a brush to hit the light switch.’

With only 6,000 dwarves in the UK and over 200 types of dwarfism, find­ing some­one ex­actly like them is a tall or­der for most lit­tle peo­ple. ‘That’s why this con­ven­tion is so im­por­tant,’ says Paul. ‘ You re­alise you’re not alone.’

The pair mar­ried 10 years ago af­ter meet­ing in Ma­jorca, where Heather was a hol­i­day rep and Paul a DJ.

‘The height dif­fer­ence was never an is­sue for us,’ says Heather. ‘But other peo­ple are fas­ci­nated by it. It can be very up­set­ting, es­pe­cially when drunk peo­ple ask how you do things in the bed­room.’

Lit­tle Peo­ple UK (LPUK) was founded in 2012 by ac­tor War­wick Davis, 47, and his wife Sam, 46. Their two chil­dren, Annabelle, 20, and Har­ri­son, 14, have both in­her­ited War­wick’s form of dwarfism, spondy­loepi­phy­seal dys­pla­sia con­genita, while Sam has achon­dropla­sia.

But it was los­ing their first son, Lloyd, in 1991 that ce­mented Sam’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to help other fam­i­lies.

Lloyd had ‘dou­ble dom­i­nance’, mean­ing he in­her­ited the genes for both types of dwarfism from his par­ents. His lungs were very weak and, at just nine days old, he sadly passed away. Trag­i­cally, their sec­ond son Ge­orge suf­fered the same fate.

‘ We were so scared to get preg­nant again,’ says Sam tear­fully. ‘Over the years, we’ve had so many fam­i­lies con­tact us look­ing for help and ad­vice. I love be­ing short, but be­ing a dwarf isn’t easy. We face chal­lenges daily and suf­fer health is­sues.

‘I wanted to of­fer peo­ple a place where they could get in­for­ma­tion and sup­port.’

Today, the char­ity runs an equip­ment loan scheme and ad­vice on ev­ery­day liv­ing. With more than 400 mem­bers, LPUK is in­un­dated with re­quests.

‘It’s for ev­ery­one, not just peo­ple with dwarfism,’ says Sam. ‘Si­b­lings, aunts, grand­par­ents… ’

War­wick adds, ‘LPUK fos­ters a great sense of be­long­ing. We pro­vide an en­vi­ron­ment where lit­tle peo­ple can ac­tu­ally talk to one an­other eye-to-eye. That doesn’t hap­pen of­ten.’

He ex­plains that the char­ity’s main aims

Heather and Paul with kids Erin and Jack LPUK en­ables peo­ple such as Jenny and Mark Corns to learn about dwarfism – in­valu­able in sup­port­ing twins Katie and Emilia (with sis­ter Abi­gail, left) Ac­tor War­wick Davis founded Lit­tle Peo­ple UK in 2012

Tall or­der: Col­lette Haynes and Char­lie Hayes Ka­rina Warr with kids Lorelei, six and Freya, nine

Blues Broth­ers-in­spired fun for this two­some at the 80s disco

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