A daring 72-year old with a big heart from Cramlington, is defying gravity in an exhilarating aerial zipline challenge to raise funds and awareness for a small mental health charity.
Alan Davison, who has worked for Northumberland-based Blyth Star Enterprises in a supervisory role for over a decade, is taking on the SkyWire at The Eden Project in Cornwall on 20 September.
The timing of Alan’s fundraising challenge coincides with a special three-day trip for 20 staff and service users from Blyth Star Enterprises Stakeford Nurseries site, where the charity runs a horticultural training programme.
The trip to Cornwall has been arranged as part of Blyth Star Enterprises ‘Next Steps Project’, a new programme which gives service users who have participated in the training programme with experiential and volunteering opportunities in different horticultural environments. The Eden Project, which is home to the world’s largest indoor rain forest and is renowned as a global centre for biodiversity research, will be the perfect place for staff and service users to expand their knowledge.
The SkyWire, which soars high above the Centre’s iconic biomes, is the UK's longest and fastest zipline, reaching speeds of 60mph over the course of half a mile.
“I am looking forward to my SkyWire challenge,” Alan said.
“Blyth Star Enterprises took a leap of faith ten years ago when they employed a 62-year old man, who had been unemployed for 15 months and was feeling pretty depressed with life in general. My life began all over again that day!
“I will be eternally grateful to Blyth Star Enterprises until the day I retire. We have developed a great working relationship over the years and many modern employers could learn from this. I hope that I can continue to support our charity and the service users for many more years to come.”
Gordon Moore, chief executive at Blyth Star Enterprises, added:
“As a small charity, we rely on the generosity of organisations and individuals, like Alan, who go above and beyond to help us raise funds so we can continue to provide outstanding services to our clients.
“The upcoming visit to The Eden Project is the first time we have hosted a trip like this. For many of our service users, this will be a once in a lifetime experience and will form a valuable part of their continued social development and horticultural education.
“The trip simply wouldn’t have been possible however if it weren’t for the funds raised through grant applications and by individual stakeholders, so we are incredibly grateful to Alan for his fundraising efforts.”
Blyth Star Enterprises provides living support, work experience and day services to over 350 people living with learning disabilities and lifelong mental health issues across the North East.
Established by a group of parents and carers over 30 years ago, Blyth Star Enterprises is dedicated to helping its service users to live more independently within their local communities by helping them to develop social and life skills through innovative day services and tailored living support.