Great Blakenham: Teen’s 40-day sponsored silence

GREAT BLAKENHAM: For most teenagers, the thought of forgoing their daily chit-chat with friends hardly bears thinking about.

But 18-year-old Josh Plume is doing just that after embarking on a sponsored silence – for 40 days!

Josh, who started his challenge on March 5, is raising money for a charity which funds research into Crohn’s disease – an illness he was diagnosed with in March last year.

The Northgate Sixth Form student hopes by taking a vow of silence for Lent he will raise awareness of Crohn’s.

He now travels everywhere with a whiteboard, marker pen and cards which explain why he is not talking.

Josh was keeping tight-lipped in our interview, scribbling down the answers to questions rather than speaking them aloud.

He wrote: “I was quite upset for a time (after diagnosis) and I didn’t know whether I needed surgery or not so that played on my mind a lot but the support of Nuffield Hospital staff was amazing and my family too. I suppose whatever will be will be.

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“There’s nothing else I can do. I can either mope about or keep doing what I want to do. It’s happened, life goes on – got to laugh haven’t you?”

Crohn’s affects roughly 60,000 people in the UK and is an inflammatory disease of the intestines. The illness can cause abdominal pain and weight loss.

Josh has raised nearly �230 of his �300 target, all of which will go to the National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s.

Despite keeping quiet for nearly a fortnight now he still finds it difficult not to speak when around friends.

He wrote: “General conversation with friends is the most challenging. Sometimes it’s really refreshing just to listen but other times you just want to scream.”

Josh, who lives in Great Blakenham, had to retake his final year at Northgate due to his being in and out of hospital but is now finishing his studies.

He hopes to be able to get the grades to read politics and international relations at the University of the West of England in Bristol.

Josh wrote: “Northgate have been helpful, understanding and let me retake the year hassle free so they’ve been supportive.”

Josh’s dad, Steve Plume, said he was proud of his son’s reaction to his diagnosis.

“When we first found out Josh was ill and he started the process of hospitals and doctors it got to a point where we wondered if he would need surgery,” he said.

“He’s dealt with it so well and we are very proud of him.”

Josh started his silence for Lent on March 5 and is due to finish on April 15.

If you wish to support Josh visit www.justgiving.com/Silence-XD

n Are you doing anything different for charity? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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