Changing Places Awareness Day Boma 7 Challenge

19th Jul 2016

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Changing Places Awareness Day Boma 7 Challenge

Happy Changing Places Day! Today is the first ever national day raising awareness of Changing Places facililties and to mark the occasion we set off on a mammoth 24 kilometre challenge - one for every Changing Places facility in Derbyshire!

The challenge, on BOMA 7 'All-Terrain' wheelchairs started off from Cromford, where there is a Changing Places facility, travelling all the way to the Proact Stadium in Chesterfield which also boasts a 'state of the art' Changing Places toilet. Waving us off on our journey were staff from Cromford Mill dressed in period costume, a team of National Citizen Service Students who are supporting our charity through a Social Action project and Felicity Brown from Hoe Grange Holidays who have a BOMA 7 of their very own which can be hired out to explore our beautiful Derbyshire countryside.

One of the two Boma 7's we drove for our journey was very kindly donated for the day by the Peak Park's Parsley Hay Cycle Hire Centre. Peak Park chief Sarah Fowler raised funds for this special all-terrain vehicle - a fund towards which we are proud to say that Accessible Derbyshire also contributed. The second was generously loaned to us by Molten Rock who manufacture the BOMA 7. Joining us on the journey was Gillian's sister Wendy Westlake who cycled the route on a traditional bike and Larry from Molten Rock who followed us in a support vehicle.

Calling at several of Derbyshire's Changing Places facilities on the way, we covered the 24 miles in around 5 1/2 hours (with refreshment stops and pauses for the odd battery change) on what is likely to be the hottest day of the year.

At the Proact stadium the Mayor of Chesterfield, Councillor Steve Brunt was joined by club Mascot Chester the Fieldmouse and a reception committee of club staff to cheer us to the finish followed by a glass of cold Prosecco in the Changing Places loo!

Our thanks go to the Peak Park, Molten Rock and Hoe Grange Holidays for the generous loan of their equipment, to the NCS students, the Cromford Mill staff and all the people who waved us off on our journey, to  cameraman Steve and Gail for postponing their holiday to the coast to film the start of our journey, to Wendy for braving the scorching temperatures on her bike, to Larry for supporting in the back-up vehicle (and for putting up with us accidentally calling him Barry, or Harry, or Garry or Lenny!), to all the people who came out to meet us and cheered us on en route, to the Mayor, his driver Tony, Chester and his helper and all the staff at the Proact who waited so patiently for us to arrive and, last but not least, to the ever-so-patient drivers of Derbyshire who queued good-naturedly behind us (well, mostly!) on our trek through the Derbyshire countryside.

What a great way to celebrate the first ever National Changing Places Day, 10 years of the official Mencap Changing Places campaign and 13 years of local campaigning in Derbyshire. Changing Places really do change lives and Derbyshire is at the very forefront of making that change happen. 

Thanks everyone!

Jane and Gillian

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