Severely disabled Huddersfield man Stephen Collins’ New Year resolution is to take on his toughest ever challenge – walking from Slaithwaite to Castle Hill.

The serial fundraiser has severe disabilities which means every step is incredibly hard work so he usually does his walks around Greenhead Park which is reasonably flat.

But now he wants to help Colne Valley charity Ruddi’s Retreat and is to walk from its café in Slaithwaite to Castle Hill, including scaling the foreboding Lockwood Scar.

He’ll be doing it on Saturday, April 20, 2024, the day before his 65th birthday, and has now set up his JustGiving page but would ideally love to have a main sponsor too.

Stephen has cerebral palsy and doctors told his parents when he was born he would never walk but, continually encouraged and supported by his parents, Stephen certainly proved the medics wrong.

Stephen said: “I know it will be very hard and will really stretch me but I’ll do it. I’ll be all right. Look at it this way, I feel that if I don’t use my legs I’ll lose them so I have to keep going. That’s what I’ve always done in life and that’s what I’ll continue to do.

“If people could start supporting my JustGiving page now that would be great and a real incentive for me to get on with my training.

“Ideally it would be wonderful to have a main sponsor too and I would have their name on all my training clothes so everyone would know who they are and how they are helping me. I’ll be doing most of my training in Greenhead Park so lots of people will see it.”

The 7.5-mile route will see Stephen walking from Slaithwaite down Manchester Road and then up Park Road West to Crosland Moor before dropping down Park Road and Swan Lane into Lockwood. Then it’s uphill all the way to Castle Hill on Lockwood Scar, Church Lane, Jackroyd Lane and the perfectly named High Lane.

He’s putting himself through all this to help Ruddi’s Retreat which provides free caravan breaks for families with children battling serious illnesses such as cancer, have life-limiting conditions or have suffered bereavement. The charity has four caravans on the Primrose Valley Holiday Park near Filey and a fifth near Blackpool.

Stephen said: “They are a local charity and I know they will really appreciate my efforts.”

Ruddi’s Retreat assistant manager Vicki Green will be supporting Stephen just about every step of the way … joining him on training sessions and then doing the walk with him on the day.

She said: “Everyone at Ruddi’s is completely in awe of Stephen and we cannot believe he is doing this mammoth feat for our charity. When we first met Stephen we were blown away by his outlook on life and his attitude towards his cerebral palsy.

“He is one of the funniest, upbeat and positive people we have ever had the pleasure to meet and we cannot wait to join him on his walk from Slaithwaite to Castle Hill.

“The more people that can get behind him and support his fundraiser the more it will boost morale. If there are any businesses that want to get involved please do get in touch to find out how they can help.”

Stephen has previously done sponsored walks – including 35 miles in a week around Greenhead Park – to raise thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK after losing both his dad, Walter, and sister-in-law, Maureen, to cancer.

Stephen was well-known as an entrepreneur, running his own successful mobility equipment business, Lazarus Mobility, and was mentored by Dragons Den star Duncan Bannatyne. Now retired, Stephen spends his time tinkering with his treasured collection of Jaguar motorcars.

In 2018 Stephen suffered a badly broken leg in two places when he tripped, fell and then became trapped beneath a door on an industrial unit.

Stephen is married to Sally and they have a grown up daughter Rose.

To support him go to his JustGiving page HERE.

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.