RECOGNISING YOUNG PEOPLE

In 2017 we nominated Aidan Jackson (then 14 yrs) for a Rotary Young Citizen Award after he raised £16,000 for charity. He has gone on to do great things ......



Current Fundraising

Many of you will know Aidan Jackson, now 19 years of age, who has tirelessly raised funds for many a year.  With the help of the community, he has funded 30 defibrillators, dotted all around Halton, with one in Warrington, as below:-

  1)  Widnes Hall Care Home, Coronation Drive, Ditton, Widnes
  2)  New Life Church, Hale Road, Halebank
  3)  The Wellington Inn (The Welly) Prescot Road, Widnes
  4)  Panache Salon, Derby Road, Widnes
  5)  The Mersey Hotel (The Snig) West Bank, Widnes
  6)  Halton Haven Hospice, Barnfield Ave, Runcorn
  7)  Homesmart Lettings, High Street, Runcorn
  8)  Apec Taxi’s, Boston Avenue, Runcorn
  9)  St John’s Church, Greenway Road, Widnes
10)  Wicksten Drive, Christian Centre, Runcorn
11)  McDonalds, Moor Lane, Widnes
12)  Eight Towers Pub, Widnes
13)  Hornsmill Avenue, Widnes
14)  The Cookhouse Pub, Liverpool Road
15)  The Derby Pub, 162-164 Widnes Rd, 
16)  McDonalds, Bowers Park, Earle Road, Widnes
17)  The Observatory Pub, Upton Rocks.
18)  The Beth Tweddle Gym, Widnes 
19)  Queen of Hearts Pub, Runcorn 
20)  Widnes Market (funded by the Market Traders)
21)  Time Square, Warrington
22)  Runcorn Food bank 
23)  Halton Hornets, Wilmere lane 
24)  The Hub, Widnes 
25)  The Woodlands
26)  The Tavern, Upton Lane
27)  Haydock Truck Park Ltd, Kilbuck lane
28)  Ben Karalius skip hire, St Michael’s Industrial Estate 
29)  Nightstop Communities, Warrington Road 
30)  St Ambrose Church Village Hall 


Aidan's Journey
 

Aidan was diagnosed with Aspergers in 2011. He also has a condition referred to as Idiopathic toe-walking, due to muscle problems in his legs and back for which he has had operations, to alleviate his discomfort growing up.

At 12 yrs of age Aidan began fundraising during a school event to sponsor a child in Burundi, East Africa. He received special mention in a school newsletter as he raised almost £90 selling old toys at car boot sales.  Aged three, he went with his sister Nikita to Halton Swimming Club and formed a friendship with Olivia Alice Walker, who had severe disabilities. Sadly, Olivia passed away in 2014, aged just 15 yrs, which affected Aidan deeply. Olivia’s family set up a charity in her memory, The Olivia Alice Walker Foundation and Aidan organised a ‘Mile ofPennies’ fundraiser which brought in £1,200.

Aidan then completed a four mile sponsored walk with a friend and the money raised also went to Olivia’s Foundation.  Due to Aidan’s fundraising efforts he was nominated for Merseyrail’s Young Personality of the Year in 2015, at the Pride of Merseyside awards.  Here he met Andrew Rogerson, also known as the 'Cycling Scouser' who inspired Aidan to take on bigger challenges. 

So he announced to his family that he wanted to swim the English Channel to raise more funds for the Foundation, but knowing this would be impractical for Aidan to achieve, they arranged for him to visit Beechwood Swimming Pool in Runcorn each week for four months, where he swam more than the equivalent of the English Channel - 22 miles.

Throughout Aidan’s fundraising, he made and sold key rings from a stall at fundraising events. This escalated to making personalised Christmas gifts. None of Aidan’s ideas are planned. He decides he wants to fundraise and due to his Aspergers, this becomes his families focus. Such was the case when Aidan decided toraise funds by asking people to donate teddy bears to sit on every one of the 13,500 seatsof the Select Stadium (home to the Widnes Vikings Rugby League Club) with a request for £1 per teddy. 

Word got around and bears were donated. The mammoth task of placing a total of 10,500 teddies on each of the seats available began, (one of the stadium’s stands was unavailabledue to use by an outside broadcaster) taking Aidan, his family and friends eight hours in all.   Aidan initially struggled to raise his target of £1 per teddy but comedian Jason Manford heard about the fundraising and helped to raise the events’ profile online. As a result £8,000 was raised, all of which went to Olivia’s Foundation. Aidan had wanted to make this a Guinness Book of Records attempt but after discovering the record was held by a young boy who had passed away earlier in the year, he cancelled any record attempt, raising the money anyway.

Publicity surrounding the stadium event reached all around the world, including Australia, USA and China, where Aidan’s sister was studying at the time. The day after the event Aidan received a telephone call and spoke with a member of The Today Programme in America, whilst his Mum was carrying out physio on his legs!

Aidan later donated all the bears to charities and 7,000 went to Bearly Loved, a charity which distributes teddy bears around the world.  Many of the small teddies were sent off in shoeboxes.

Realising that many other people have lost someone special, Aidan started off another campaign in December 2016. With the help of local businesses, Christmas ‘memory’ trees were placed in various locations around Widnes, including Aidan’s doorstep, and people were invited to write on a tag in memory of a loved one, in return for a donation of £1. Aidan asked his parents if he could arrange a Carol Concert and over 100 people attended, remarkable given that this took place in the front garden of Aidan’s house! A local charity attended, Victoria Music, to sing Carols. The Carol Concert brought in over £600 and together with the money from trees located around Widnes, a total of £1147 was raised. This was split between Olivia’s Foundation, the Charlie’s Chance Appeal (for a localboy who had been diagnosed with recurring leukaemia) and eight other smaller charities.

Other fundraising events include two four-mile sponsored walks, with monies raised going to the Mark Gorry Foundation and also a ‘Guess the Name of the Teddy’ event to raise money for children with cleft pallets in 3rd world countries. He also helped his sister raise money for school events so she could make a difference in Kenya and Tanzania.

Aidan’s Mum, Caroline, says that Aidan has always wanted to give to others, he never asks for anything as he is well aware of how lucky he is and how much he has compared to others less fortunate. She also says that the change in Aidan since he started his fundraising endeavours has been remarkable. During his money raising challenges, he has been interviewed on both Radio and in front of TV cameras and she says this does not phase him at all. 

ROTARY YOUNG CITIZEN AWARDS 2017

Aidan was a worthy winner, collecting his Award at the National Rotary Conference in Manchester.  The event was broadcast live by the BBC and the awards were presented by BBC presenter Ellie Crisell.  The calmest person in the room was Aidan, watched by his very proud parents, Caroline and Steve.

Well done Aidan and carry on with your fantastic work. 

All of us here at Widnes Rotary were extremely proud to nominate this inspirational young man.  A future Rotarian perhaps?   




 

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In 2017 we nominated Aidan Jackson (then 14 yrs) for a Rotary Young Citizen Award after he raised £16,000 for charity. He has gone on to do great things ......

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