Charity Steps in to Replace Trikes; Children Thrilled to Get New Bikes after Theft

Article excerpt

Byline: NICOLA WEATHERALL

AUTISTIC children left distraught by the theft of bicycles from their school are smiling once again after a Tyneside charity stepped in to replace them.

Children from Thomas Bewick School in West Denton, Newcastle, lost 14 bikes and three specially-adapted trikes worth thousands of pounds during a burglary in March, on the eve of a Bikeability event at their school.

Now the Newcastle-based charity Smile for Life has replaced the three specially adapted bikes at a cost of almost pounds 2,000 after embarking on a series of fundraising activities.

Chief executive Paula Gascoigne read about the school's plight in The Chronicle and decided to take action.

She said: "Once I read that the bikes had been stolen, I knew we had to do something because the kids desperately relied on this equipment.

"I asked the school and our trustees if there was anything we could do to help and we set about raising the funds to replace the three specialist bikes, which were by far the most expensive, by packing shopping bags, hosting events and more.

"Our charity is all about helping local children by providing equipment or resources, so it seemed obvious for us to get involved. …