Biking the way to better health

A dad, desperate for his 12-year-old son to have some respite from a traumatic condition, has had his prayers answered by Radio Borders and a generous Berwick shop manager.

Sunday, 28th August 2016, 7:26 am
The youngster and his father with the £500 bike donated by Go Outdoors in Berwick

During a visit to Eyemouth, the father and son pulled a rusty bike from the sea and, after repairing it, the single father from Tweeddale realised that cycling brought short term relief from the post traumatic stress disorder suffered by his son, Matt.

Knowing the rusty bike wasn’t going to last long, the dad contacted Radio Borders Cash for Kids to ask if he could apply for funding for a new bike.

Charity manager Candy Rafferty took the call and explained: “Unfortunately we had just processed the second of our four annual grant rounds, so were unable to provide funds. However, I knew just who to contact.

“GO Outdoors in Berwick sponsored our Superhero Day back in May. It’s very much a family-oriented company, committed to their community.

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“James Renton, the manager, is a dad himself, and I knew he would have a real understanding of the difference a bike could make to this youngster’s life.”

GO Outdoors did help and Matt now has a fantastic brand new Calibre Two Two, worth £500.

James said: “When we heard about Matt’s dad’s plea for a bike through Radio Borders, we of course wanted to help. It’s great to see that spending time doing activities outdoors has helped begin recovery and we only hope the new bike helps further.”

Matt’s condition is the result of violent assault and abuse at the hands of trusted people when he was seven.

For Matt, it comes with symptoms such as hyper-vigilance and a constant fight-or-flight state, hallucinations, night terrors, sleeplessness and bouts of depression.

Matt’s dad explained: “If someone was to accidentally bump into you, and spill your drink, most people would understand. Not Matt. He would feel threatened and react impulsively. This often makes him seem like a bad lad, but he’s really not.”

Borders healthcare professional for CAMHS, Alicia Knight said: “There’s actually been a recent study that proves exercising in the great outdoors produces even greater feelings of vitality, enthusiasm and self-esteem and lowers tension, depression and fatigue.

“Matt’s environment in the Scottish Borders is ideal for mountain biking and I’ve no doubt this fantastic donation will help him escape his thoughts and bring him many hours of pleasure.”