You’ve got a friend in me: Long-time friends take on cycle challenge for worthwhile cause
PUBLISHED: 13:36 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:36 13 March 2020
A man and his long-time friend are gearing up to take on a cycle challenge to help more people with learning disabilities and additional needs find friendship.
Ollie Wright will be cycling between Ely and Downham Market with friend Katie Crook, who he has known since primary school, in aid of charity Safe Soulmates which helps match diversely able adults with potential soulmates in a safe and supported way.
This will be a new experience for Ollie, 24, who has previously completed charity cycling races on his own but never with a partner, having only got in touch with organisers in January about attempting the 56-mile route over one day.
'I am an avid cyclist and I thought why not try something different, give it a go and see what happens,' he said.
'I have done a few charity races, but never done any team events, all solo.
'To be honest, I feel nervous, but I'm pleased I am not doing it solo as we can motivate each other and push each other to be better.'
Since being diagnosed with autism as a baby, Ollie has supported different causes, including Ely foodbank which he raised around £200 for in August 2016.
But Ollie, a kitchen assistant from Cottenham, has had to overcome personal battles to get to this point, and hopes his latest challenge can help others in a similar situation.
'I got bullied at school - it has never been easy from day one,' he said.
'No matter what age, even if you have a disability, do not let it hold you back.
'Once you overcome that disability, even if it gives you challenges or a hard time, just think 'okay, I have got this, it is not like I cannot do it. Nobody said it was easy.''
Ollie has raised more than what he thought, having initially set a fundraising target of £1,000, and will aim to support Katie during the challenge on Saturday, March 28, who is rather nervous ahead of the ride.
'It would definitely help both of us and hopefully help her not be as scared of traffic,' Ollie added.
'It will also help me when being her mentor, giving my knowledge to her and increasing her confidence.
'I think doing the ride will bring people out of their comfort zones, push a little harder, set the goals they want to achieve in your mind and take it from there.'
To donate, visit Ollie's JustGiving page at https://bit.ly/3cWdSpB.