Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Diver to pedal from Scotland to Birstall to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease research
A scuba-diver is planning to cycle 500 miles in five days in memory of his firefighter father who died from Motor Neurone Disease.
James Wilson is working in Scotland as a crew member of a wreck diving company.
But when his job finishes in November, he is combining his trip back to his mother’s home in the Spen Valley with a fundraising effort in support of SITraN – a research facility for Translational Neuroscience based in Sheffield.
The 34-year-old said: “My dad sadly passed away after losing his fight with Motor Neurone Disease on December 5, 2009, and I am doing my best to raise funds for this facility, in order that the suffering of others with this disease can be reduced, and that the experts can continue their work around treating and learning about MND.”
Paul Wilson was a firefighter in West Yorkshire for 25 years. He trained at the service’s headquarters in Birkenshaw and worked at Batley Fire Station while living in Birstall with his wife, Solange. He was a keen cyclist, riding all over the world.
His daughter Ruth Weavill, of Birstall, said: “When he was coming to terms with his illness he said: ‘I am sad because of all the things I have done that I won’t be able to do again’.
“Many people would feel sad about the things they had never managed to achieve, but our dad lived his life with everything he had and if he wanted to do something, he just got on with it.”
Mr Wilson’s ride leaves Thurso on Monday, November 18, and finishes in Birstall on Friday, November 22. When he returns, he will live with his mother at her home in Liversedge.
“James is often described as one of life’s good guys. He is an amazing brother and a really cool uncle – put simply, everybody loves him and we’re incredibly proud that he has chosen to take on this challenge.
“James worked for Direct Line Insurance for more than 15 years, but after our dad passed away he decided to start living life the way he really wanted to. He quit his job and trained abroad as a scuba diving instructor,” Mrs Weavill, 32, said.
So far Mr Wilson has raised £450 of a £2,500 target through his Just Giving page, and his sister is now organising a FUNdraising Party Night at Oakwell Motel on November 29.
“We’ve had a lot of amazing donations from local businesses and organisations and we’re getting more all the time.
“However, one thing we do still need is a support vehicle. A very close friend of ours has volunteered to drive the support vehicle at James’s side, which will contain space for the bike, spare parts and tools, food and water. However, we need a hire company to sponsor us by donating a vehicle,” she said.
Anyone who can help the charity ride can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mrs Weavill on 07943 106334.