Pathfinders Swindon received a financial boost on 30 May from 200 party-goers celebrating Mick Fisher’s 80th birthday after he asked for donations to the charity that provides outdoor experiences for disabled young people, including his granddaughter Louise, from Greenmeadow.
Last year Louise, who has athetoid cerebral palsy, underwent major brain surgery to insert a battery-powered controller into her brain which helps reduce the involuntary muscle movements that characterise her condition. Afterwards she spent a week in Northern Ireland trying activities such as riding in a speedboat with Pathfinders.
Commenting on his decision to invite guests to help the charity Mick said: “It was much better to ask for donations rather than be left with a cupboard full of aftershave, soap, socks and slippers I’d never get round to using. Pathfinders really is a fantastic charity which does so much for the young people.”
Next February Pathfinders have booked a skiing holiday in Austria for 15 disabled teenagers. But £18,500 is needed to get them there, in addition to the £6,500 participants and helpers are contributing.
Pathfinders received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2011. Describing their work chairwoman Jean Clifford said: “We take the youngsters to places with adapted equipment, with staff trained in leading people with disabilities through exciting challenges. It gives them a chance to prove to themselves and to show others just what they can achieve, given the right opportunity.
“We’ve taken the young people canoeing, sailing, abseiling, para-gliding and water-skiing. The look of proud achievement and satisfaction on the faces of our members is priceless.”
Mick completed an apprenticeship inside Swindon railway works when he left school and later set up a carpet-fitting business after being made redundant. He said he was delighted with the success of his party.
“Nearly the whole family were there, including my sons who live in America and Australia. Usually older people meet up with friends at funerals, but it was great to see people from school and work at my birthday.
“We raised £1,000 for Pathfinders which will help the young people go skiing.”
To help Pathfinders raise the money needed to take the young people skiing, call Jean Clifford on 07732 937282 or donate online: www.justgiving.com/Pathfinders_Swindon/Donate
Pictured: Louise with grandad Mick and Jean Clifford in front of the Rugshack van, one of the charity’s sponsors.