When a 12-year-old Carrongrange pupil experienced a specially adapted swing for the very first time his initial look of uncertainty was quickly replaced with one of happiness.
His pure joy at soaring through the air inspired Allana Hughes to do something she’d also never done before – sign up to a 100 mile bike ride to help raise funds for the Zetland Park Inclusive Play project.
The project aims to create a play zone in the Grangemouth park where all able and disabled children can play together.
To achieve that goal a total of £20k needs to be raised to buy all the specialist equipment needed. Working in partnership with Friends of Zetland Park and Play As One Scotland, Falkirk Council is exploring various funding routes to help make it happen.
Currently 40% of the funding required to purchase the first piece of kit – a £5.5k accessible roundabout – has been raised and Allana’s cycling challenge is looking to add at least another £500 into the pot before the fundraising deadline of July 31st.
As project manager of the Zetland Park Regeneration Project, Allana choose to undertake the challenge after seeing the profound impact a visit to Play As One Scotland’s inclusive play park in Dunfermline had on the young pupil.
She said: “The boy had never had the opportunity to experience the unique sensation of going on a swing because of the lack of local facilities. His reaction brought a tear to my eye and made me realise that we all too often take for granted the simple pleasures in life like using a swing or a roundabout. It made me passionate that every child, no matter their ability or disability, should have the chance to play together in the new area we are creating in Zetland Park.”
Since finding out she had secured a place in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, Allana, a keen road cyclist, has racked up 900 miles during her training in preparation for the event on August 4th.
On the day she will be one of 25k amateur cyclists making their way through London and into Surrey’s stunning countryside before finishing back along the capital’s iconic, The Mall.
What’s she most looking forward too? The finish line after around 7.5hrs in the saddle!
“I entered the ballot for the race never thinking I would get a place, as around 70k people apply. Then I got the event magazine through the door with ‘congratulations’ on the front cover.
“I took on a coach to help with my training and I’ve cycled far and wide – including on our award winning shared path network. I’m really looking forward to the challenge. It’s going to be an experience to remember.”
Pictured: Allana training near Carron Valley Reservoir.