Pioneering wheelchair is ready for next race
Abbie set to pilot Joelette
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