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Highland schoolboy cycles 24 miles to raise money for neurodevelopmental support centre

Andrew Ochojna and his mother Gerry.
Andrew Ochojna and his mother Gerry.

A Highland schoolboy showed great determination as he cycled 24 miles to raise funds for a neurodevelopmental support centre.

Andrew Ochojna from Nairn took on the cycle challenge yesterday along the Dava Way, which is the old railway line between Grantown on Spey and Forres.

The nine-year-old has autism and dyspraxia and had taken up the activity as a hobby to escape from the struggles of lockdown.

And he decided to use his exertions to raise funds for the Pines support centre in Inverness, which has been such a big support to his family.

The unit offers a range of agencies and services, including occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and support charities.

His mother Gerry was bursting with pride as he completed the cycle challenge and revealed he’d already raised £1,300 to repay the charity for its “invaluable” support.

Last night Mrs Ochojna told the P&J: “I’m unbelievably proud and can’t really put into words how awesome he is for taking on this challenge.

“It is pretty cool what he is doing.

“He started with our local bike club, Revolution CT Juniors, and his confidence has just grown from there.

“He has found lockdown pretty difficult, what with being in all the time, so we were getting out and about on our bikes.

“The journeys became longer and longer as we went on and then he came up with the idea of the challenge.

“The Pine’s support has been really important to me as much as Andrew because they provide amazing drop-in sessions and support sessions for parents so we can learn how to deal with children that have autism.

“We just know they are at the end of the phone if we need them. The service is invaluable to us.”

Mrs Ochojna said Andrew set his original fundraising target at £100 as he was unsure just how his page would do.

After just a few days, the generous public helped him smash the target with ease.

She added: “We are really pleased to raise that so far as we originally aimed to raise £100 so the support shown is utterly amazing. It really is appreciated.

“Andrew likes off-roading and thought of somewhere local and quite safe for him to do the challenge.

“It is a quite an iconic route along the railway line.

To donate to the fundraiser, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/AndrewDavaway.

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