Pi­o­neer­ing wheel­chair is ready for next race

Ab­bie set to pi­lot Joelette

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News - Judith Ton­ner

A pi­o­neer­ing wheel­chair brought to Scot­land by the fundrais­ing ef­forts of an Air­drie run­ner will be in ac­tion close to home this week­end.

Nel­son Lid­dle and fel­low vol­un­teers will be guid­ing the Joelette wheel­chair around the course of the Cum­ber­nauld 10k race, with seven-year-old Ab­bie Young in the hot­seat.

It fol­lows a suc­cess­ful sum­mer ad­ven­ture in which he and a team of guides took another young­ster on a unique ad­ven­ture in the all­ter­rain chair – to the top of a Munro.

Nel­son, who is de­pute head at Port­land High in Coat­bridge, founded Joelette and Peo­ple Ex­pe­ri­ences ( JAPES) af­ter see­ing a sim­i­lar wheel­chair in ac­tion while com­plet­ing the Rome marathon in 2014, giv­ing peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties the chance to en­joy the thrill of mass run­ning events.

The Ad­ver­tiser told last sum­mer how he had com­pleted five marathons, span­ning the coast- to­coast John Muir Way, to raise funds for its pur­chase, with the wheel­chair first be­ing used to al­low two young­sters to par­tic­i­pate in the Great Scot­tish Run.

It was most re­cently used for another first, help­ing Perthshire school­boy Alex Med­ley make it to the sum­mit of 3196ft Ben Lomond, along­side his par­ents and sis­ter.

Nel­son said of JAPES’ work: “It’s truly a life en rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and smashes the bar­ri­ers to par­tic­i­pa­tion, and the mes­sages I’ve re­ceived from carers and par­ents are ex­ceed­ingly pos­i­tive.

“With a team of vol­un­teer run­ners, we have now helped 12 ‘pi­lots’ with a range of dis­abil­i­ties in­clud­ing cere­bral palsy, ge­netic dis­or­der, spinal in­jury and spina bi­fida, to par­tic­i­pate in runs from 3km to a marathon.”

Cum­ber­nauld 10k pi­lot Ab­bie has spina bi­fida and hy­dro­cephalus, and will be tak­ing part in Sun­day’s race along with dad James to raise funds for a good cause which has sup­ported the fam­ily – and which is the event’s char­ity part­ner.

Spina Bi­fida Hy­dro­cephalus Scot­land (SBH) pro­vides the Young fam­ily with ad­vice and one- to- one sup­port for both Ab­bie, who at­tends its youth group to play and learn along­side other chil­dren with sim­i­lar con­di­tions, and for her par­ents Danielle and James.

He said: “SBH Scot­land has be­come part of our fam­ily and we couldn’t be more grate­ful for all they have done for us.”

For de­tails on JAPES in­clud­ing how to vol­un­teer, visit www.japes.scot/

It smashes the bar­ri­ers to par­tic­i­pa­tion

top team Nel­son, left, with Ab­bie and James Young and Chan­tal Carr of SBH

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