Posted: 15.05.19 at 07:37 by Out of Hours Club Rutland
Intrepid fundraiser Joshua Reid Savage completed a nine-hour sponsored journey for Out of Hours Club Rutland (OHCR)...in silence and dressed as Minnie Mouse.
Twenty-seven-year-old Joshua, who has a learning disability, is a volunteer at OHCR and used public transport to travel from Oakham to Warsop via Melton, Nottingham and Mansfield, clad in the cartoon character costume.
Joshua, who was accompanied on his travels by OHCR leader Sophie Gray, not only wanted to raise funds for the group but to experience some of what the other members deal with every day. For example, OHCR members have a variety of disabilities and needs from Down's syndrome, autism, anxiety and mental health issues to hearing-impaired, sight-impaired, unable to speak and mobility issues.
Joshua, from Oakham, shares the ups and downs of his adventure: “Since OHCR began I have been a member and have been supported to become more independent and do things for myself. I am now a volunteer and feel that it is time to give something back.
"My journey began just outside Princess Avenue park [Oakham] about 8am where I met Jacqui, who founded OHCR and is the secretary, and Sophie.
"But as I was about to leave, I found out how difficult it was to lock my front door wearing the hand gear of Minnie and needed support to do it.
"I walked towards the Oakham bus station and fell over the bench near the train station as I had tunnel vision due to the Minnie Mouse head gear.
"I needed help to get back up and could not pick up my bag or anything else but was OK to continue Minnie Mouse’s journey.
"At the bus station I met several people and children and Jacqui and Sophie explained what I was doing, which Sophie continued to do for the rest of our travels as I was not allowed to speak and Jacqui could not continue with us.
"In Melton I walked around the town centre waving to children and adults getting donations with Sophie until catching the bus to Nottingham.
"In Nottingham the journey got a little more complicated due to the change in direction because of construction work being done which I did not know about and the amount of people and children.
"I had fun trying to have a drink and had to use a straw and also had to use the male toilets dressed as Minnie Mouse which caused hysterics with everyone that saw me.
"I went into the Victoria Centre Nottingham where I had photos taken with various children and adults whilst Sophie explained what I was doing and received donations.
"I had to say goodbye to Sophie who had travelled as far as she could with me...and got on the bus to Mansfield.
"In Mansfield I walked from West Notts College to Mansfield town centre, just as it started to rain, so walked around Four Seasons until the rain stopped having photos taken and receiving donations.
"I then had a little boy and dad walk me to the bus stop where I got the bus to Warsop.
"Again, lots of photos was taken and donations given in Warsop and Church Warsop where my journey as Minnie Mouse came to an end at 5pm, which was a little longer than was planned.
"Although I enjoyed doing the sponsored silence/walk/travel as Minnie Mouse bringing happiness to everyone of all ages, I now realise just how difficult it must be for some of the OHCR members to do what the majority of the public take for granted every day including signing (because I could not speak) which not everyone understood.
"I must say ‘thank you’ to the bus drivers and to everyone that has donated funds to OHCR over the last few weeks. I am still collecting the money but will let everyone know how much was raised just as soon as I can."
Sophie, also from Oakham, adds: "We are so proud of what Joshua has done and immensely grateful to him for doing this.
"We were shown a great deal of kindness and generosity - including the bus drivers who gave Minnie free tickets along her journey - we are very grateful!"
Out of Hours Club Rutland (OHCR) is a group for young adults with additional needs to get together and go out 'independently' to enjoy a range of different activities - from going to the pub, meals out, cinema and theatre trips, bowling and days out - while encouraged to socialise and be independent.
The young adults are supervised by age-appropriate leaders and a back-up team, of at least one committee member, is nearby to help in emergencies.
OHCR does not receive funding and relies on donations to enable the group to continue supporting young adults with additional needs in the Rutland area.
If you would like to show your appreciation for Joshua's efforts and want to support the group you can find out more by clicking the red button below.
Photo 1: Minnie Mouse montage
Photo 2: Joshua minus the cartoon character costume