Stevenage mum’s outrage over Hollywood Bowl ‘discrimination’ against epileptic son

Karyn Gorham (left) with her son Ross, his carer Ceri Aitken (far right) and her son Jack Aitken

Karyn Gorham (left) with her son Ross, his carer Ceri Aitken (far right) and her son Jack Aitken - Credit: Archant

The mother of a young man with multiple medical conditions, including epilepsy, has hit out a 10-pin bowling company for “discrimination” after she was told her son would be unable to play.

Ross Gorham, of Brick Kiln Road in Stevenage, has severe epilepsy and organic delusional disorder – a psychiatric condition which means he cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined.

Every Monday and Friday for more than two years, 23-year-old Ross and two of his friends – who both have multiple medical conditions, including epilepsy – have gone with two carers to Hollywood Bowl on Stevenage Leisure Park.

According to his mother Karyn, the manager has always switched off the strobe lighting for the three hours they are there, to prevent an epileptic fit being triggered.

But she says the new manager has refused to accommodate the young men – one of whom is 22 and has a life-threatening illness. “We don’t know how long he’s got,” she said. “It’s his only pleasure.”

Mrs Gorham, who herself is battling breast cancer, said the manager has refused to turn the strobe lighting off which is operated during school and bank holidays.

“On the last bank holiday he refused to let them bowl in case they had a seizure,” she said.

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Mrs Gorham says her son’s daily life is very structured and any deviation from this rigid routine can be devastating as it causes him to become aggressive.

“Because Ross wasn’t allowed to bowl that day, it was my fault,” she said. “He became aggressive and I couldn’t make him understand.

“It’s three hours out of their lives which they really enjoy. It’s the fact they have been doing this for the last couple of years and now all of a sudden they have got to stop. It’s discrimination and it’s disgusting.”

A spokesman for The Original Bowling Company, which operates Hollywood Bowl, said the strobe lighting during school holidays was “part of the customer experience” but that the that they had “offered the customer times to come within the school holidays as a compromise”.