A GROUP of teenagers travelled a total of more than 170 miles for charity – in wheelchairs.
Each of the 11 able-bodied youngsters wheeled themselves from Eastney Swimming Pool to Clarence Pier and back again three times to clock up the mileage in aid of Enable Ability.
Inspired by the upcoming Paralympic Games, the teens wanted to complete the challenge in wheelchairs to see what life is like for people who rely on them to get around.
Paige Chandler, 17, of Princes Street, Buckland, said: ‘It was good fun but it was so hard. Using the wheelchair kills your arms, half way through I really started to feel it. I didn’t expect it to be as hard as this, it was a real eye-opener.
‘It made me realise how hard it must be for people who are in wheelchairs just to get about and how much I take for granted about my own life.’
The challenge was part of the four-week government incitive, National Citizen Service, which aims to get young people more involved with the community.
The group, who are taking part in the NCS at Motiv8, came up with the idea of the fundraiser after doing voluntary work for Enable Ability, in Portsmouth.
The 170 miles signifies the distance from Motiv8’s base in the Omega Centre, Somers Town, to the Olympic Park, in London.
Jessica Bascombe, 16, from Southampton Road, Titchfield, said: ‘It’s so much harder to use a wheelchair than it looks.
‘I totally admire the athletes in the Paralympic Games now. They make it look so easy.
‘They must have been through so much in their lives and worked so hard to get to where they are now, it’s inspiring.’
Also taking part in the challenge were Dan McCann, Reece Dunford, Jordan Rowland, David Bagshaw, Emilea Levitt, Shantelle Cass, Sam Swales, Dan Baily, and Sophie Andrews.
Phil Franklin, co-ordinator for Motiv8, said: ‘I don’t think they realised how difficult the task would be until they started it, but they did well, I’m proud of them.
‘They’ve been great throughout the whole course.
‘It’s all about giving the young people something to do over the summer that is constructive and purposeful.’
For information on the NCS, see nationalcitizen service.direct.gov.uk