A young chef from Great Thurlow is preparing to cook up a storm next month – all in the name of charity.
Lewis Ryan, 22, was born with a cleft lip and palate and has had 16 operations and three bone grafts since his first surgery at just three days old.
He spent his school years feeling ‘different’ and looked like he had ‘gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson’ after his first bone graft, but says he had a great support network of friends and family and always tried to embrace who he was.
Next month his treatment is due to end – there is just one last dental procedure left – and he is marking this final milestone in his journey by hosting a three-course charity dinner at the pub he works for, the Wickhambrook Greyhound and Twenty One, on April 11.
The meal will cost £25 per person and all of the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA), which has supported him over the years.
The night will also feature a raffle with prizes which include wine tasting for two at Chilford Hall in Linton, a spa day for two at Gainsborough Health Club & Spa in Cavendish, Sunday dinner for two at Twenty One and Lewis as personal chef for a night.
Lewis, who hopes the event will raise at least £1,000, said: “I’m excited. It’s going to be the first time I’ve hosted a party like this.
“It’s about raising money and awareness but it’s also a chance to sit back, relax and hopefully win yourself a nice prize as well.
“Primarily it’s about having a good time - it’s a bit of a celebration and it’s a chance for me to give something back.”
To book a table, call the pub – named CAMRA’s Rural Community Pub of the Year for West Suffolk and Bury Free Press Pub of the Year in 2015 – on 01440 821017.
Anyone with questions about the night, or about living with a cleft lip and/or palate, can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lewis will also be doing a sky dive for CLAPA on June 4. To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/lewis-ryan1