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Captain Tom inspires young Angus man to complete 101-mile charity challenge

Connor Black with Avril Muir of Enable (left) and Morag McKenzie from the Learning Tree Partnership.
Connor Black with Avril Muir of Enable (left) and Morag McKenzie from the Learning Tree Partnership.

Inspired by the amazing effort of Captain Sir Tom Moore, a young Angus man has completed his own 101-mile challenge to give back to the charities which have supported him in his personal journey.

Connor Black from Forfar has overcome learning disabilities to deliver peer support in building the confidence of others at two local projects with which he is involved.

The 25-year-old’s determination has already taken him to Holyrood where the Angus work was showcased.

Connor volunteers at the Learning Tree Partnership in Arbroath.

Touched by the February death of centenarian Captain Tom, who raised £33 million for the NHS, Connor came up with his own idea of a sponsored walk in aid of learning disabilities charity Enable and the Learning Tree Partnership in Arbroath.

In the space of just a month, he completed the challenge by walking in and around the Forfar area.

Connor’s support worker, June Grant, was at his side for the majority of the journey as the pair took in daily walks of several miles.

Determination

She said: “When Captain Tom passed away, Connor said he would quite like to do something.

“I told him to sleep on it and the very next day he came to me with the idea of walking 100 miles.”

Connor and support worker June Grant stepped up to the 101-mile challenge.

June said: “We would often go out and do five or six miles.

“He didn’t let the weather put him off and even on days off for his carer support he stayed motivated and would walk in the area around his home and record it on his fitness tracker.

“On the last day Connor said we should do one extra just to make it 101,” said June.

Connor described Captain Sir Tom as an “amazing” figure.

He enjoyed the challenge, but cannot wait to get back to a more normal routine among friends.

“I just wish this would all go bye bye,” said Connor.

Local Enable Scotland youth co-ordinator Avril Muir said the challenge of the pandemic had been a struggle for many people supported by the charity.

“It’s so difficult that they are not able to meet their friends and be involved in the usual activities which they enjoy,” she said.

“But this has just been a great example of the kind of young man Connor is .

“He attended Enable youth group and is now part of the adult group, actively involved in campaigning, peer support, and delivering disability awareness while making new friends through that.”

Anti-bullying support

Connor’s work in developing and promoting anti-bullying initiatives also took him to the Scottish Parliament as part of an Enable delegation.

Connor is eager for the bookshop doors to re-open.

Avril added: “Our fundraising over the last year has also been massively hit, so for Connor to do something like this to help is an amazing example to set.

“This has also given him something to focus on.

“He’s a quiet lad and wouldn’t shout about it, but I think he’s probably quite proud of himself for doing it and raising the money – as he should be.

“Connor’s been with us for a number of years and the great thing is that he will see his money used locally to help the two organisations he knows so well.

Learning Tree Partnership

The £300 total will be boosted through the Kiltwalk, with half the proceeds also going to the Guthrie Port-based Learning Tree Partnership.

It helps those with learning disabilities grow their confidence and learn customer service skills through the sale of books, cds and dvds in their bookshop, which it is hoped will re-open later this month as restrictions ease.

Development worker Morag McKenzie said: “Connor’s work with the partnership is fantastic.

“He puts so much effort into everything he does and is great with the customers.

“He has been with us since we started the partnership and it has been great to see the organisation develop, and Connor develop as part of that.

“To do something to give back to an organisation that they are part of means a lot to people,” added Morag.

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