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Craig completes marathon challenge

A Shropshire man confined to a wheelchair has successfully completed five marathons in five days – raising more than £3,000 for a local charity in the process.

Craig Nicholson, 40, from Craven Arms, completed the 137 miles between Eastbourne and Poole with two friends, also in wheelchairs, and one on a bike in aid of CasCA – Community Arts Sports Craven Arms – an arm of the charity The Furniture Scheme.

He chose his local charity because it gives youngsters in the town the opportunity to play sports, receive coaching and give them the chance to take part in free activities.

“It went very well and the people along the route were absolutely marvellous. They came out with offers of free food and drink and we even had a lorry driver pay for one of our meals,” he said.

“The weather was very hot and one of our lads got a touch of sunstroke early on but he rallied and we all completed the challenge five days and five marathons later on Sandbanks Beach, Poole.

“Paul Gascoigne was there at the beach and we all had our photograph taken with him. So that was special.

“My aim was to raise about £2,500. All the money isn’t in yet but it looks like we will be over the £3,000 mark. I’m pleased with that because CasCA is something very close to my heart.”

Craig was joined on the gruelling challenge by Scott Smith and Glenn Leversage, also in wheelchairs, and Paul Rogers who completed the journey on a bicycle. Craig’s wife Cheryl was also an integral part of the support team.

“It proved a little hairy early on as we tackled the hilly section between Eastbourne and Brighton. One of the lads was coming down a hill in his chair very quickly – about 50km an hour – and was trying to slow himself down. He burnt his hands and got a few blisters. But he was ok,” added Craig.

“I’ve done a lot of things for charity but never five marathons in five days. But it was sound. A great experience and I would certainly think about doing it again. It’s a funny thing but I really missed it when we stopped doing it.”

Jean Jarvis MBE, CEO of The Furniture Scheme, which manages CasCA, said: “This was a truly amazing achievement by Craig, Scott and Glen, who I know have some great supporters. We’ve followed their progressed and are absolutely thrilled that Craig has chosen to raise funds for CasCA, we can’t thank him enough!.”

CasCA volunteer wins award

Sasha Smiley who is volunteer at CasCA won an award at the West Mercia Police’s annual Young Good Citizen of the Year ceremony.

Sasha who is only 15 years old, volunteers at CasCA every week and is also part of a local pantomime group which raises money for charities. She was put forward for the award by staff at the Community Centre.

Pictured is Sasha receiving her award from the High Sheriff of Shropshire Diana Flint.

Whittingham Riddell Make a Difference at Craven Arms Community Centre

An enthusiastic team of volunteers from the Ludlow office of Whittingham Riddell recently offered their services to help out with painting at Craven Arms Community Centre.

The Centre, now known as CasCA, is under new management with South Shropshire Furniture Scheme having recently taken on the responsibility of keeping the doors open for the community to enjoy the wide range of sports, arts and community activities that take place in the building.

Each year Whittingham Riddell give a day of their time to support a local charity and as soon as CasCA heard of the opportunity the Centre jumped at the chance to welcome the Whittingham Riddell team.

Jean Jarvis MBE, Chief Executive said, “The Furniture Scheme relies very much on voluntary effort.  We are extremely grateful to Whittingham Riddell for helping us at Craven Arms.  The volunteers did a fantastic job, painting the entrance area, the IT suite and several meeting rooms.  Lots of people are commenting on how good the Centre looks and how welcoming it feels”.

The volunteers were supported and supervised by Ben Whitmarsh, painter decorator from Ludlow who has been working with the Furniture Scheme at Craven Arms and Rockspring in Ludlow.  Ben said, “It’s incredible how much you can get through in a day with willing workers and lots of extra pairs of hands.  It really has made redecorating the Centre affordable at a time when budgets are tight.”

See pictures on the Whittingham Riddell news page

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