TWO-year-old twins Abigail and Isobel Parry pulled on colourful unmatched socks in celebration of an international awareness campaign.
And mum and dad, Bury police officers Matt and Jodi Parry, persuaded colleagues to don wacky socks for World Down’s Syndrome Day last Friday.
The couple are determined to dispel various myths about the condition since Abigail and Isobel were diagnosed at three weeks old.
After their initial “devastation”, 35-year-old Matt and Jodi, aged 34, realised how many misconceptions around Down’s – and their twins – existed.
The couple, who also have a son, Finlay, aged five, now work to connect with families to explain the realities of looking after children with Down’s syndrome through their Twincess Campaign charity.
Matt said: “World Down’s Syndrome Day is a celebration among the Down’s syndrome community.
“It is so important to reinforce our message of integration and focussing on the ups, not the downs.
“Being parents to three children is challenging and to be honest we know no difference, so the Down’s syndrome never really comes into it.
“Society is changing and we still believe it is naivety as opposed to prejudice that is holding everything back. By education and media support we feel we can make huge inroads, focussing on what people can achieve instead of what they can’t.”
The twins have slower-than-average development, underactive thyroids and other health difficulties but Jodi and Matt insist they are no more of a challenge than bringing up Finlay.
Isobel has just begun to walk and though they have hearing difficulties the girls are building up a good sign language vocabulary.
Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, met the twins and donned wacky socks for the occasion.
He said: “Many people do not understand Down’s Syndrome and this day is an opportunity to learn about the condition while having a bit of fun and raising money for a worthwhile cause.”
On July, 35 riders will take part in a Manchester to Blackpool bike run and in the same month police officers from Bury will compete in the Ironman UK challenge in Bolton.
Matt is also set to take part in a triathalon and the Great Manchester Swim this summer and Finlay is doing the Mini Great Manchester Run in Heaton Park, Prestwich, in May.
Matt said: “The Twincess Campaign has mushroomed beyond belief and we have had some fantastic events to raise our profile and an immense amount of work going on behind the scenes.
“It is a really exciting time for us at the moment.”
For more information, go to twincess.co.uk, search Twincess Campaign on Facebook or follow @Twincess1 on Twitter.
To find out more about World Down Syndrome Day: go to worlddownsyndromeday.org