Celebrities help replace stolen Plymouth voice machine

A girl will get her voice back after celebrities join an appeal to return a stolen voice machine.

Miya Thirlby and her family
Miya uses the machine, which tracks her eye movements, to communicate with her family

A teenager will get her voice back after celebrities helped raise £6,000 to replace stolen equipment.

Miya Thirlby, 16 from Plymouth, has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and is deaf. She uses an adapted computer which helps her speak.

Her dad, Paul Johnson made a Twitter appeal for its return after the machine was stolen from his car.

A host of celebrities including Paul Gascoigne, Alan Shearer and Dawn French shared the original post.

More news from Devon and Cornwall

This led to a Just Giving appeal page being set up by Jamie Twite, which beat its target of £6,000 in less than 24 hours.

Former England footballer Gascoigne donated £1,000 to the appeal.

Other celebrities including Mark Ronson, Lorraine Kelly and comedian Adam Hills - presenter of the TV show The Last Leg, who himself has a disability - have shared the post.

Paul Gascoigne donated £1,000 towards a new machine

Mr Johnson said the thieves might have thought they were stealing a regular computer as it was stored in a laptop bag.

He said: "I'm not 100% sure the thief knew what it was but with the press and everything around it he must know now and where it is.

"For him to still not do anything about it is just heartless."

The original tweet has been retweeted more than 50,000 times since it was posted on Thursday and attracted more than 1,000 comments.

It included the hashtag #getmiyasvoiceback, with thousands more people sharing their thoughts on the theft and fundraising.

You may also like:

Former Paralympian and campaigner Tanni Grey-Thompson replied to the original post asking if she could raise the story in the House of Lords during a debate on the impact of social media.

Jo Griffiths replied to the original post from Mr Johnson on Twitter offering to give a equipment for Miya to use.

Many comments on social media talked about the "human kindness" shown through donations to replace the equipment.

Kas said: "Whilst it's sickening that someone would do this, for every bad apple there's hundreds of good ones. £6,000 raised already for a replacement! Amazing. Faith in humans is restored."

Mr Johnson said: "It has been amazing, overwhelming. Gazza is a hero of mine."

The machine has pictures of her father, mother Kerrie Thirlby and her twin Macie, and it says their names if Miya looks at the images.

Mr Johnson had hoped it would not be necessary to start a fundraising appeal as he thought it was possible the equipment might be returned.




Date: 12 January 2018 | Source: BBC

More UK News

Britney Spears to play Brighton Pride... and Scarborough

The pop singer is taking her Las Vegas show on tour in Europe

Driver behaviour 'transformed' by A90 average speed cameras

Surveys suggest average speed technology between Stonehaven and Dundee has dramatically cut speeding..

Neglect and abuse claims on rise in sheltered housing

UK councils receive more than 30,000 allegations of mistreatment concerning residents, the BBC learn..

Children in England 'deserve better' from healthcare

England has not made the same strides as Wales and Scotland to improve care, a report says

Sky-Fox deal not in public interest, says regulator

The regulator says the deal would give the Murdoch family too much control over news providers in th..

Travel chaos after gas leak shuts Charing Cross station

Roads are closed and Charing Cross station shut after a gas main ruptured just off Strand
View More

More Telford News

 Jimmy Armfield remembered: When England's World Cup squad trained in Shropshire

It’s not a view that would be associated with the modern day international..

 Volunteers sought by health watchdog in Telford

A health watchdog has won a contract to continue its work in Telford and W..

 GKN lifts sales forecast for electric car unit as it fights off Melrose hostile takeover

Engineering giant GKN, which employs more than 300 people in Shropshire, h..

 Top conductor leads school warm-up for classical concert - with video

A Shropshire school welcomed singers from across the Midlands to an ambiti..

 The Wrekin Housing Trust serves up partnership with Telford Tennis Centre

The Wrekin Housing Trust has celebrated its inaugural partnership with the ..

 Telford couple fined for fly tipping

A couple from Priorslee, Telford, have been fined £300 over the fly tipping..
View More

Telford Businesses

Calendar Countdown

[[countdown here]]
[[countdown here]]

Upcoming Events in Telford

22 Apr 2018

12 noon


Ride Out Entry £10.00 per bike including Festival entry (advance tickets only - register here)
Festival Entry £5.00 per person (under 16’s free)

View Details

26 May 2018

Farm Shop and Arthur’s Farm Kitchen: Tues – Sat 9.30am – 5.00pm and Sun 10.00am – 4.00pm

Open Bank Holiday Mondays: 10.00am – 4.00pm


Free entry Some activities and events are chargeable

View Details
View More