35-mile char­ity aim is close to the heart for keen walker Mark

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

DE­TER­MINED Mark Davis plans to take on the Grit Stone Trail for new group Autism In­clu­sive.

The 43-year-old, from Bosley, has so far raised £155 for the char­ity and is aim­ing for £300 be­fore tak­ing on the walk in July.

The Grit Stone Trail runs 35-miles from Dis­ley to Kids­grove.

Spe­cial needs tu­tor Mark plans to com­plete the trail in one day.

He said: “I have al­ways been an avid walker and go most week­ends.

“I’ve cho­sen the Grit Stone Trail be­cause it is lo­cal to Cheshire and it is the right dis­tance to serve as a tough chal­lenge for one day’s walk­ing.

“I’m try­ing to in­crease the amount of run­ning I do to in­crease my fit­ness.

“It is go­ing to be an in­cred­i­ble chal­lenge but I should man­age to do it.”

Mark’s wife, Gill, 39, was di­ag­nosed with asperger’s syn­drome in 2013.

He said: “Autism In­clu­sive has done a lot for me on a per­sonal level.

“It was shock­ing to find out there is so lit­tle sup­port for peo­ple with asperger’s and autism.

“It is un­be­liev­able how es­sen­tial places like Autism In­clu­sive are as sup­port groups.”

Fa­ther-of-two Mark, who lives on Lakeside with Gill and their two chil­dren An­drew, four, and Kim­berly, three, said go­ing to the meet­ings had given his wife a great deal more con­fi­dence and un­der­stand­ing of her con­di­tion.

He added: “My wife started meet­ing other peo­ple with sim­i­lar con­di­tions and said it was the first time she had ever felt she fit­ted in some­where.

“Be­ing able to meet peo­ple who have been through the same things and are in the same boat has been so im­por­tant.”

Mark’s son An­drew has also been di­ag­nosed as be­ing on the Autis­tic Spec­trum and he has been at­tend­ing par­ent sup­port meet­ings.

Mark added: “It is good to be able to meet peo­ple who are deal­ing with the same is­sues – of­ten much worse.

“I’m hop­ing places like Autism In­clu­sive will be able to give him sup­port when he is older.”

Mark said the Crewebased group, which cov­ers all of east Cheshire, des­per­ately needed more fund­ing and he was pleased to be able to help.

He said: “They help with all kinds of things – such as help­ing peo­ple with asperger’s find hous­ing and ben­e­fits, and they also act as ad­vo­cates and of­fer ad­vice.

“It is an im­por­tant sup­port net­work.”

Any­one who wishes to do­nate to the cause can do so at www. gofundme.com/ autismin­clu­sive

●● Mark Davis

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