Nigel takes on epic bike ride to 'Make a Special Kid Smile!'

Andy and Lesley Fussell, Alister Farr.  Jamie Thomson,  Chris Clarke and Mark Cheetham all accompanied Nigel on his epic trip  (Far right)
Andy and Lesley Fussell, Alister Farr. Jamie Thomson, Chris Clarke and Mark Cheetham all accompanied Nigel on his epic trip (Far right)
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Nigel Westacott took on a mammoth bike ride from Lowe​stoft​ to ​St David's Head in ​Pembrokeshire to raise money for the ​local ​charity MASKS [Make a Special Kid Smile].

Nigel Westacott took on a mammoth bike ride from Lowe​stoft​ to ​St David's Head in ​Pembrokeshire to raise money for the ​local ​charity MASKS [Make a Special Kid Smile].

He's done it!

He's done it!

The goal of the trip was to raise cash so that pupils from schools in ​T​he Vale Federation of Special Schools can enjoy Alternative Curriculum Activities and trips that they will not have been able to take without government funding.

The journey took three days, an epic 390 mile slalom through the Welsh hills that began on May 18.

Nigel wasn't alone, ​t​he crew was also ​Andy and ​Lesley Fussell, Alister Farr and Jamie Thomson. Additional guest riders included Chris Clarke and Mark Cheetham who hit the front so that ​Nigel​ could​ take a rest. The challenge was all the more impressive as Nigel had not ridden a bike for over 30 years, prior to commencing training for the ride.​

So far, Nigel has raised £14,600 of his £15,000 target.

Nigel said: “Pupils within The Vale Federation Schools do not always have the same opportunities to experience extra-curricular activities either within school or within the family surroundings.

“Pupils within a mainstream setting will often take part in school trips and also have the opportunity to take part in longer residential trips within the UK and overseas.

“As a result of the wide needs of the pupils, high staffing and transport requirements, it is not always possible for the pupils within The Vale Federation Schools to take part in activities, others take for granted, without additional funding.”

“Pupils confidence and self-esteem can be increased by participating and enjoying activities which they have not experienced before, in turn, this may lead to further participation and the chance to meet new friends and to build new relationships.

Nigel said about his amazing effort: “​We experienced wet conditions for about 60 miles however, the sun came out which meant we could enjoy some magnificent scenery along the way"

“ I hit a Roe Deer two weeks before the off date, at night in the dark, I went over the handle bars, I bent my forks​ and body​, Halfords Aylesbury, kindly agreed to repair my bike free of charge for MASKS​, but drew a line at body repairs"

“​I​ managed to get lost ​in the ​in the first few miles trying to find a way out of ​Lowestoft in gloomy drizzle, in the dark at 4:30 in the morning, ​which was not the perfect start to 390 miles ahead of me, ​but after that It was smooth ​sailing​!

“I want to thank everyone who biked with me, our team, I couldn’t have done it without them!

“I feel a real sense of achievement, but at the end of the day this is for the children at ​T​he Vale Fed​eration​ ​of Special ​Schools, not for me.

“If you can help out in anyway, to help us reach our target of £15,000 please donate​ to MASKS​!”

To donate to ​MASKS​, please visit: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/nigelwestacott1

MASKS will also be holding an Awareness Exhibition on Monday 19th June at The Gateway Centre, Aylesbury from 9:30 - 6pm.

It is a collection of framed artwork that would ‘Make A Special Kid Smile’ produced by schools and organisations in Bucks, and aims to open up the discussion of special needs within mainstream schools and our community and inform the next generation of employers, decision makers and leaders.