A 77-YEAR-OLD customer of a local opticians in Wigston is setting off on a three-week challenge to tour the cardinal points of England, Scotland and Wales in a genuine Indian tuk-tuk.
Steve Gibbs started his journey from Specsavers in Bell Street with support from the store and staff. He will be raising funds for the Healing Little Hearts (HLH) charity, a cause he feels very strongly about. HLH provides free heart surgery to babies and children that need it most, and operates in India, Africa and Malaysia.
Steve’s daughter works with HLH and he has always been keen to support the charity. But since having a pacemaker fitted, he feels it is his time to give something back. The tuk-tuk has a maximum speed of around 40 mph, so completing the 3,000-mile challenge in 21 days will involve more than six hours of driving every day.
Specsavers store director, Kay Chotai, says: ‘Steve’s spirit is amazing. We have supported him in his charitable efforts before, but this is on another scale altogether. The HLH cause is something very close to our hearts, and the work they do is truly amazing, so the whole team is right behind Steve on his challenge. We were delighted to wave him off on the morning of 17 July, and are expecting an emotional “welcome back” on Sunday 6 August.’
HLH has saved the lives of 971 babies since 2007, which is almost 100 life-saving operations every year. Most of these have been in India, where the charity started operating in 2007. Every two minutes, a baby that requires heart surgery is born in India, but the resources and specialism only exists in a few places, usually in private hospitals, which are out of reach by those who need the help the most.
Kay continues: ‘Steve’s challenge is for such a good cause, we urge everyone to visit his fundraising page and give what you can.’
For more information on HLH, visit: www.healinglittlehearts.org.uk and to donate to Steve’s fundraising challenge, visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/12cornersrickshawchallenge