Norfolk charity gears up for 1,500 mile trike challenge

Work has begun to restore a vintage hand-powered trike that will be used by a Norfolk charity to recreate its founder's 1,500-mile journey to the Swiss Alps more than 60 years ago.

Denny Denley, who was paralysed by polio at the age of 21, proved in 1947 that disability was no barrier when it came to exploring new horizons after using a Argson mobility trike to travel from England to Switzerland.

The adventurer, who went on to form a charity to support disabled people, will be remembered when officials at Disabled Motoring UK, formerly known as Mobilise, retrace the journey made by their founder using the same hand propelled vehicle.

The charity, which is based at Ashwellthorpe, will mark the death of Mr Denley last year by riding to the Alps and back to help raise awareness of the challenges facing disabled people in the current climate.

They will also be joined by sporting ambassadors, including paralympian Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and basketball player Ade Adepitan along the journey, which will start from Norfolk on June 4. The mobility trike, which had been on show at the Disabled Motoring UK headquarters foyer, is currently being restored by soldiers from the Light Dragoons at Swanton Morley, near Dereham, so that it is in road worthy condition for the two-week adventure.

The charity is set to finish at a reception at the Houses of Parliament on June 16.

Jim Rawlings, senior information officer at Disabled Motoring UK, said Mr Denley was an 'inspirational' man and showed that disability could not stop people from seeing the world.

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'He did a broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on August 20, 1947 and the BBC were inundated with people who wanted to do something like this and that was why he founded the Invalid Tricycle Association for people in similar circumstances.

'It is difficult to imagine in this day and age, but they did not have the disability discrimination act and the equality act.'

'It is going to be a very emotive time, but with an end product and a lobby of Parliament. We will be talking about the increase in fuel and more importantly changes to the disability living allowance, which is an important benefit for our members,' he said.

The Argson trike is getting a full service and MOT at the Swanton Morley barracks where it is receiving new tyres, new spokes, respray, a restored back-up 197cc engine, and is also being re-upholstered.

Disabled Motoring UK, which was recently rebranded, is a national charity, which campaigns on behalf of disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders.

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