Sunday, 21 April 2024
Sunday, 21 April 2024

Fundraiser completes epic 24-hour cycling challenge for autism charity

ONE man, one 0.6km loop, 24 hours – an epic fundraising challenge has been completed by an autism charity staff member.

Mark Bailey, Director of Operations at Berkshire-based Prior’s Court, has completed a mammoth 24-hour cycling challenge to fundraise for the autism charity’s Performing Arts Centre appeal.

Mark cycled from 4pm on Wednesday, 6 March to 4pm on Wednesday, 7 March on a tricycle around Prior’s Court’s 0.6km circular Track.

Not only did Mark complete an estimated 330 laps of the Track – around 120 miles altogether– he overcame some mini-tasks set for him along the way which included a quiz with eating a hot chilli as a forfeit for getting a question wrong, playing charades and singing Let It Go from Frozen while dressed as Elsa with the Prior’s Court Nights team, a no-hands portrait painting task and more.

The event concluded with a grandstand finish as dozens of Prior’s Court staff and young people gathered to cheer him on for his last lap of the Track.

Mark said:

“I remain exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally. I’m shattered. But I’m also so, so pleased to have completed this challenge to raise money for the Performing Arts Centre.

“Young people here at Prior’s Court – all autistic people – have the same rights as anyone else to be empowered to access the transformative powers of the performing arts, and that is what the centre is all about. It is that thought that kept me going all through the 24 hours.

“Thank you to everyone who came out to support me, who helped organise the event and who has donated – it makes the world of difference.”

Mark opted to use a tricycle as it is the preferred method of transport for many young people at Prior’s Court. Mark’s trike also had a second seat so as many staff and young people as possible could get involved in the event.

Mark’s aim with the ‘On your MARKs, get set, go!’ challenge is to raise money for the Let Me Shine Performing Arts Centre fundraising appeal, as he is one of the leads for the project.

He has so far raised more than £1,700.

Donations are still being taken at: www.justgiving.com/page/onyourmarks.

Building work is underway on the Let Me Shine Performing Arts Centre which, once complete, will feature adapted facilities to support young people with complex autism to access opportunities in music, dance and drama and the life-enriching benefits this provides. It is believed to be the first centre of its type in the country to be built specifically to meet the needs of autistic people with complex needs.

Individuals with autism face many barriers to accessing the arts – from light and noise sensitivities to understanding of social rules – and one aim of the centre is to mimic theatre environments to prepare young people to access arts venues in the community successfully. This is in addition to having the opportunity day-to-day to express themselves creatively in a dedicated, bespoke space.

To find out more about the Performing Arts Centre appeal, please visit: www.priorscourt.org.uk/PAC.

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