Midshire takes on Manchester to Blackpool bike ride for FACT
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Midshire takes on Manchester to Blackpool bike ride for FACT

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Midshire Field Engineer, Daniel Linaker is set to embark upon the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride on Sunday 13th July. The 65 mile course begins at the Manchester United football ground and finishes outside the south promenade in Blackpool.

Daniel is racing to raise money for a local charity, FACT (Families of Autistic Children Together). The charity was set up by a good friend of Daniel’s, Dallas Whittle. Dallas’s son, Lewis was first diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Dallas and Tracy Whittle recognised the benefits additional care and therapy can provide to autistic children and founded the FACT charity.

FACT-image The charity provides children with autism and their  families a chance to play in a relaxing and safe  environment, whilst enjoying days out together as a  family. The charity already has a number of volunteers  who help run its many social events.

Twice a month FACT runs the ‘Slide and Seek’ activity,  where children and parents are invited with siblings to play in the soft play area. Dallas commented on his son, Lewis:

‘He has no sense of danger.’ 

This is one of the reasons why the Slide and Seek has been so successful; children are able to play in a safe environment.

Additionally, every Saturday, FACT holds the Saturday Club between 10am-1pm. This is a chance for families to meet up and enjoy a coffee together.

These events enable parents to bring their children to an autism friendly environment, without having to worry about how people may react. The charity also provides additional therapy, and even pay for speech and occupational therapy.

What is autism?

Autism is a developmental condition that can affect a person’s personality due to the way the brain processes function. The condition can affect people in varying degrees and different ways. Autism may be characterised by poor social interaction or communication skills, restricted interests or repetitive behaviour.

The National Autistic Society believes that more than 1 in every 100 people in the UK has autism.

This video from The National Autistic Society explains further:

The bike ride follows a tough course, taking participants along country lanes before finishing in Blackpool itself.

Daniel hopes to complete the ride in order to raise money for FACT. Daniel said,

‘Dallas’s son is autistic. It was difficult seeing him with Lewis not being able to go out like most young families. Dallas started the charity for families with autism, so they could relax and enjoy family days out.’

On the upcoming challenge Daniel commented,

Bike Ride

‘ I don’t have much cycling experience. I have attempted theManchester to Blackpool bike ride in the past, but unfortunately couldn’t complete it due to injury. I hope that the training I have done will help me to complete the challenge this year.’

FACT is also arranging to hire a minibus to take the children who use FACT and their siblings to Blackpool on the day. It is likely to be a fantastic event for the whole family. FACT is hoping that the Blackpool to Manchester bike ride alone will raise £3-4,000.

Dallas Whittle, from FACT charity said:

‘I  would like to thank Daniel and wish him luck on the long journey. I will be riding alongside him, encouraging him all the way, and all our families and friends will be waiting at the finish line to cheer him on. We would like to thank Midshire for all their support and on behalf of all the families, children and trustees at Fact we really appreciate your support.

The funds raised from the Gala Ball and the bike ride will help the charity to carry on the great work to help reach more children on the autistic spectrum. We have 80 people involved in the bike ride on Sunday, this includes riders, parents, family and friends all supporting us along the way.’

If you would like to support FACT and Daniel, please donate via the JustGiving page:

The FACT charity committee now has six members and has successfully helped 75-100 families in the Manchester area. The charity has a number of events planned, and a group are also hoping to do the ‘Three Peaks Challenge’ in the near future. Keep up to date with the last news from FACT on Facebook.