How a little Hartlepool girl with Down's syndrome prompted town world record attempt

A Hartlepool family and charity have teamed up to put the town on the map as a record breaker.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 16th March 2020, 11:09 am
Bella Gill, six, with Micky Day and Darren Cliff (front) parents Donna Fenwick and Daniel Gill (centre) and members of the Miles for Men team.

The family of six-year-old Bella Gill, who has Down’s syndrome and has had over 100 operations, have joined forces with Miles for Men to attempt to break the world record for the most people wearing odd socks in a single gathering – currently 933.

It is set to take place at a venue in town still to be confirmed on Saturday, March 21 – World Down’s Syndrome Day – to help raise awareness.

Bella’s friends and family have regularly taken part in World Down’s Syndrome Day when supporters are encouraged to wear brightly coloured or mismatched socks.

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Bella Gill is encouraging people in Hartlepool to wear odd socks on World Down's Syndrome Day on Saturday, March 21.

But mum Donna Fenwick, 46, said after speaking to Miles for Men founder Micky Day, they thought they could do something on a much bigger scale.

Donna, an IT support officer at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We wondered what we could do to make the day a bit more special and thought let's see if Hartlepool can beat the world record.”

The current record was set at a school in Tennessee, America, in April 2018.

Donna added: “I think with Micky on board and all of his contacts we are going to smash it. Also Bella is really popular in Hartlepool and think everybody will be behind her.”

March 21 is used as the day to draw awareness because of the triple 21 chromosome that causes Down syndrome.

Mile for Men has supported Bella and her family, of Dyke House, through her ups and downs over the years.

She has undergone dozens of operations to her throat to help improve her breathing including thracheotomys and reconstructive surgery.

Donna, whose partner is Daniel Gill, 47, added: “She has had so many health problems over the years and has just smiled all the way through it.

“As a family we have just embraced Bella’s Down’s syndrome and not let it affect us.”

Micky Day, who has known Donna and David since school, is contacting local sports clubs and dance schools to invite them to join in.

He said: “Bella has been through the mill. It’s about bringing the people of Hartlepool together once again.”