A COUPLE from Forres are cycling more than 500 miles each in aid of a local children’s cause.
Brodie Countryfare baker June Campbell (49) and sales assistant Hannah Lane (26) have set off on a sponsored virtual bike ride from Land’s End to John o’ Groats to raise funds for a mobile sensory space for children on behalf of Hannah’s dad Jon.
Jon – a former care and support manager who has worked with people with autism, learning disabilities and head injuries for over 25 years – runs Out There, a one-to-one support provider.
He said: “Out There provides tailored services including taking children out to activities and facilities, and providing respite for families. We are running a Go Fund Me campaign to raise £15,000 to transform a small van or minibus into an activity vehicle with a built-in sensory room.”
A number of local parents told Jon that accessing a sensory space currently means long drives and undue stress. He completed a feasibility study which resulted in his search for a “mess van” which typically has a small kitchen, running water and electrics, making conversation simpler. Once completed, the vehicle will have bubble tubes, fidget toys, projections, mood lighting, a sound system, beanbag bed and fibre-optic curtains. There will also be space for outdoor equipment and an access ramp. The bus will even have an eating area with a table, television, laptop, digital camera and internet facilities.
Jon has already accepted £773 from Nairn Academy staff who raised the money via a walking marathon. The mother of one of the children he supports is also planning a sponsored danceathon.
But he hopes his daughter and her fiancée complete their combined total of 1080 miles to earn even more cash for the cause.
June said: “Neither of us usually go to the gym never mind ride a bike, so it’s been tough getting used to the effort and finding the best times in the day to ride. The money coming in keeps us going!”
The betrothed are keen to see who gets to the finish line first.
Hannah said: “A little competition won’t do us any harm… We’re getting married next August so we’re raising money while shedding a few lockdown pounds to fit our wedding dresses!”
Jon is proud of both women and appreciates all efforts to help him buy a mobile sensory space.
He said: “Hannah and June didn’t tell me what they were doing until they announced that a spin-bike had been delivered and was set up in their dining room! People have been so generous so far. The support and encouragement has been overwhelming.”
Sponsor Jon’s campaign at gf.me/u/ygvmtz