West Hampstead family inspired by deaf six-year-old boy launch week of charity challenges


A six-year-old West Hampstead boy and his family are taking on a week of challenges to raise funds for the charity which helped him to listen and speak and flourish alongside his hearing peers.

Orson Grimer will be joined by his three-year-old sister Mei, his parents Avril and Martin and grandfather John for their #LoudShirtDay challenges in support of the annual flagship event organised by Auditory Verbal UK.

The AVUK family-centred early intervention programme helps support deaf babies and children to learn to listen and talk. The charity has continued to provide its specialised programme throughout the pandemic moving all of its services to online and digital platforms.

The Grimer family are focussing their challenges around the number 6,825 – a year’s auditory verbal therapy costs £6,825.

Orson will be cycling for 6,825 seconds – which is an hour and 53 mins – over six days; remembering as many six and eight timetables in 68 seconds; writing a story that includes the number six and eight, reading eight chapters of a book and standing on one foot for 68 seconds.

Mei will be scootering for 6,825 seconds over six days, completing six puzzles over six days, telling her family a six-page story and recognising six letters and numbers each day.

Martin will be doing six HIIT classes over six days, 68 press ups a day and drawing eight caricatures.

Avril will be walking 6,825 steps every day; running for 6,825 seconds over six days and holding a plank for 68 seconds every day.

Grandad will also be running for 6,825 seconds over six days.

Orson was born three-months prematurely and after weeks in intensive care he was diagnosed with moderate-severe high frequency sensorineural hearing loss in both ears (his hearing loss has been caused by a mutation on the Connexin 26 gene).

He was fitted with hearing aids at 18-months-old and after finding out about Auditory Verbal UK Orson started sessions with the Bermondsey based charity when he was two year’s old and graduated two and a half years later a year ahead on the Preschool Language Scales assessment.

Avril explained: “For a young boy who cannot hear the sound of a bike bell, birds singing and the doorbell ringing without his hearing aids it was an incredible achievement.

We wanted Orson to be a kind and confident boy, who has the resilience to overcome set-backs, who understands his hearing loss and is able to communicate his needs to his friends, teachers and family. Most importantly we wanted to equip him with the skills and knowledge that he can achieve whatever he wants in life as his hearing loss will never hold him back.”

Inspired by Orson and his family Mulberry House School which is attended by both Grimer children, will also be taking part in #LoudShirtDay.

Orson will be showing his classmates how to make tie dye t-shirts which they can all wear on the day and the whole school community will be supporting him by wearing brightly coloured clothing and donating to AVUK.

Headteacher Victoria Playford, said: “We are really proud of Orson, having joined the school at two years old, it has been a joy to watch him flourish into a confident charismatic individual. He now has the tools available to approach each new challenge with determination and resilience. We are so proud to be supporting him.”

#LoudShirtDay is held each year to get LOUD and create a sound future for deaf babies and children. Despite being postponed due to the pandemic the event has been rescheduled to coincide with that held by counterparts in Australia and New Zealand.

As well as Grimer’s family challenge there is a range of different ways of getting involved in #LoudShirtDay. Simply dress up in your loudest clothes, get all your family involved and of course your pets and post your photos on social media #LoudShirtDay. Or why not have a Loud Shirt party joining friends and families virtually. Don’t forget to donate – it’s easier than ever online or you can text LOUD to 70970 to donate £5 or 70191 to donate £10.