|Nationwide's Nikki Skinner presenting Carol McKiernon of Families Connected By Autism with a cheque for £1112.70, from donations by staff and customers to The Long Push 2012 - Longboarding for Autism Awareness|
Pictured above is Nationwide member of staff - Nicola Skinner, presenting a cheque for £1112.70 to Carol McKiernon of the charity Families Connected By Autism. Nicola encouraged several of the Nationwide branches in the North West Area to raise funds for THE LONG PUSH 2012—Longboarding for Autism Awareness, a 100 mile round trip longboard journey between Southport and Fleetwood, being made in August by 48 year old Southport man Chris Ward. So, why and... what’s a longboard? Chris explains…
“My girlfriend’s son was diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) last year, when he was aged 10. It opened my eyes to what other families in similar situations must go through. We looked for support in understanding the lifelong condition of autism and that was when we found Families Connected. Founder and head of the charity Carol McKiernon has been hugely supportive of us, so I wanted to do something to help her charity grow. I’ve been skateboarding since around 1976, so I had the idea to do THE LONG PUSH 2012—Longboarding for Autism Awareness".
"A longboard is essentially an overlong skateboard, but they have bigger, softer wheels to help them travel faster and over rough surfaces more easily. I’m going to do the full 100 mile ride over two days in August, or September if I have to reschedule due to the weather, but I’m building my distances up now while I’m training and trying to raise more awareness each time I go out. I’m easy to notice around the seafront here in Southport, Blackpool and other towns along The Long Push route between Southport and Fleetwood, with my bright yellow ’LONG PUSH’ T-shirt. So I hope people will give me a wave or stop me to ask me about autism if they see me about, and maybe throw some change in one of the charity buckets. 100 miles is a big challenge but I’m confident I’ll make it. I’m hoping to raise around £5000 by the time I’m finished. This donation by Nationwide is amazing and puts me well on the way to achieving that”.
Nicola Skinner of Nationwide commented, “I have been good friends with the family since our boys were born and when I found out what Chris was doing I desperately wanted to help them in whatever way I could. The staff in our branches were all keen on the idea too and were glad to support Chris with his challenge. I’m really pleased we’ve been able to raise so much money for this very worthy cause, and would like to thank all the staff and customers of Nationwide who contributed”.
Families Connected Founder & Chairman, Carol McKiernan said:- “I think it’s a fantastic thing Chris is doing. I have a 14 year old son with autism myself. I formed the charity to connect with the families of children with Autistic Spectrum Conditions by giving them a voice and a forum for the much needed emotional support. Fundraising is enormously important to us at Families Connected to help the charity grow and support more families, so we are enormously grateful to the Nationwide and all their staff who contributed and we wish Chris the very best in his training and on the journey itself,. We hope others will continue to show their support too by making donations at www.justgiving.com/TheLongPush
Chris continues, “The response has been great so far, with J&R Sports distribution hooking me up with Orangatang Wheels and Paris Trucks and Sporting Sails coming forward to sponsor The Long Push, and Big Woody’s Skateboard Shop in Blackpool have hooked me up with DC Shoes for the journey.” Andrea Clayton of Big Woody’s commented “This is an amazing journey that Chris is making for a very worthy cause and we are very proud to have supported him from the very beginning. We encourage anyone that sees him out and about to give him all the support they can and sponsor him. Chris is making people aware of autism and being a great ambassador for skateboarding at the same time . Good Luck !! “
Chris is still looking for more sponsors to boost the donations and help raise autism awareness. You can follow his progress on the blog at www.thelongpush.blogspot.com and you can also follow The Long Push 2012 on Facebook or @TheLongPush on Twitter.”