An intrepid pair of fundraisers are planning a wheelchair trip from Skelmersdale to Penzance in 24 hours to raise money for worthy causes.
Carl Eaton, from Up Holland, who has spina bifida and also had his right leg amputated, plans to drive from Skelmersdale Police Station to Penzance with his friend, Peter Walsh, a taxi driver from Skelmersdale. The adventurous couple, both turning 60 this year, plan to make the long drive from Skelmersdale Police Station on June 18 to Penzance in wheelchairs as part of a huge fundraising effort.
Their incredible challenge aims to raise much-needed funds for the Foam Threats Football club, a successful football club for adults with learning disabilities that Carl runs, and a kind-hearted local group called Carousel, a West Lancashire organization that uses music, movement and group singing activities to enable people to connect socially and improve mental and physical well-being. Established in 2021, the Carousel Music & Movement Community Interest Community illuminates lives through music and movement and helps people improve their health and well-being, with sessions aimed at those feeling isolated, people with mental health issues, older people and adults with learning needs.
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Carl, a father-of-two and doting grandfather to two-and-a-half-year-old Harriet, runs the country-renowned Skem Menaces football club for adults with varying degrees of disability. He told Lancs Live: “We are an adult men’s football club with varying degrees of disability; we are the most decorated disabled football club in the country – we went to Buckingham Palace.
“Every year I come up with new events, or something where we can fundraise, and I do silly things like jump off buildings, and last year I did the Tough Mudder challenge. I was talking with a friend and I came up with the idea for “Skem’s Escape”.
“So basically the whole purpose of what we’re going to do is that the police station in Skem, on Saturday morning June 18, is going to lock us up in jail, and we’re going to wear these idiots in escaped convict uniforms. We will literally have no money, no food, no water, even credit card details will be deleted from our phones.
“The idea is that we escape from Skelmersdale and have to get to Penzance in 24 hours. We literally have to do it by word of mouth, that’s what we have to do.
“I’m in a wheelchair, and Peter, who is able-bodied, will also be in a wheelchair to raise awareness about disability and what it’s like to be in a wheelchair. The idea is that we leave Skem with no money, no food and no water, and see if we can get to Lands End or maybe even further.
The pair will also have to find their way back to Penzance once the challenge is completed on their own. Carl added: “It’s not like we can hitchhike, because we have two big wheelchairs, and we’re just going to have to scrounge up drinks, food and trains, whatever we can go up.
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“If we get to Land‘s End and Penzance in a reasonable amount of time, we might even jump on a boat and leave for Jersey while we’re there. We’ll have our phones so we can vlog hourly on Facebook where people can donate, there’s a website up and running and he’s raised around £900 for people to donate.
“I’m not nervous at all – I don’t have a nervous bone in my body. I’m 60 this year, so is my mate, and we’re having a little fun, but it’s going to be fun. We don’t We’re not just raising money for Skem Menaces, we’re also doing it for Carousel, which provides dance, music and movement for people with additional needs and mental health issues.
“They are also struggling with what happened with Covid because all sorts of fundraising has stopped so organizations like us need the pennies. One of the main reasons I do what I do when I do all this nonsense is because it’s incredibly important to me to give back to the community, like the community has given to our club.
“If it hadn’t been for the community of Skelmersdale I don’t think the club would be where it is today. There are 60 men at this club and if it hadn’t been for the community of Skelmersdale over the years which they really cared about I don’t think we would be where we are so it is extremely important that we give back to this community because you will never find a community more generous.
Caroline Darbyshire, director of Carousel, which runs services in West Lancashire, said: “We offer music and movement sessions for mental health, older people and anyone to brighten people’s lives, because music is such great therapy. Carl is wonderful; he’s taking on this challenge at Land’s End and raising funds for Carousel to help us grow in the community to do more work.”