Norwich mum's Down's syndrome socks go global

  • Published
Coloured sock posterImage source, Lots of Socks Trail
Image caption,
Coloured socks are being displayed in windows across the world

Posters of brightly coloured socks are being put up in windows across the globe for World Down Syndrome Day 2021.

The "Lots of Socks" art trail was the idea of Norwich mum Emma Taylor, whose son Eli, six, has the condition.

Socks have been used as a motif to raise awareness by World Down Syndrome Day International for years, as the chromosome that causes it is shaped like a sock.

Mrs Taylor said she was amazed when her idea was taken up by so many people.

The mother-of-two said the family and local Down's syndrome groups would usually celebrate on 21 March - but for the second year running, their planned activities had been cancelled.

Image source, Lots of Socks Trail
Image caption,
Eli Taylor, six, with one of the sock posters that are being coloured in by hundreds of supporters

"Instead, my artist friend Judith Palmer designed a poster with socks on it, for an art trail," Mrs Taylor said.

The poster showing mismatched pairs of socks hanging on washing lines can be downloaded from the Lots of Socks Trail Facebook page which she set up a month ago, coloured in and displayed in a window.

Image source, Lots of Socks Trail
Image caption,
People have been sending pictures of their posters to the Taylors' Facebook group
Image source, Lots of Socks Trail
Image caption,
People as far away as the USA and Canada are joining in the "art trail"

"Hundreds of people have printed the poster, from the USA, Canada, France, Italy and right across the UK," she said.

Image source, Judith Palmer/Alphatogs
Image caption,
The blank poster was designed by a family friend

"I didn't want the day to go unnoticed - I want it to be a day of celebration," Mrs Taylor added.

"In Ontario, Canada, one woman said her whole neighbourhood is displaying the posters."

Image source, Lots of Socks Trail
Image caption,
Emma Taylor with one of the painted posters

Mrs Taylor said she, Eli, and the rest of the family had been "amazed" by the reaction to the posters and thrilled they had been so well-received.

A spokeswoman for the Down's Syndrome Association said: "We are delighted that Emma's sock trail has been picked up and enjoyed across the globe.

"Socks have become a symbol of the day, because chromosomes look like socks, and people who have Down's syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21.

"People use the hashtag #LotsOfSocks on social media to show their support which is a really fun way of raising awareness of World Down Syndrome Day."

Down's syndrome

  • For every 700 to 1,000 babies born, one will have Down's syndrome, meaning they have an extra chromosome and a learning disability
  • About 40,000 people in the UK have the condition
  • Around half have heart defects but only 10-15% require medical intervention
  • 80% of children with the condition are born to women younger than 35
  • In the 1960s, life expectancy was 15 - it is now between 50 and 60

Source: NHS/Positive About Down Syndrome

Anna Sands from Down Syndrome International, which runs the annual awareness-raising day, said: "Emma's 'Lots of Socks Trail' idea has really captured the imaginations of people who want to... bring about positive change for people with Down's syndrome, both here in the UK and around the world."

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