Teen with cerebral palsy climbs equivalent height of Ben Nevis for charity

Ian Duncan, 13, climbed 8,810 steps to raise money for a local riding centre for the disabled.

Schoolboy with cerebral palsy climbs equivalent height of Ben Nevis to raise money for local riding centre Rotary Club GBI

A 13-year-old boy has been given an award after climbing the equivalent height of Ben Nevis for a local riding centre for the disabled.

Ian Duncan, from Edinburgh, was given a Rotary Young Citizen Sporting Hero award after taking on the challenge to raise money for the local Riding for Disabled (RDA) centre in Muirfield.

Ian lives with cerebral palsy, which impacts his mobility, coordination and balance.

Since the age of three, Ian has benefited from hippotherapy at RDA Muirfield, a physical, occupational and speech therapy which utilises the natural gait and movement of a horse to provide motor and sensory input.

Ian is a prominent ‘Frame Runner’, a form of adaptive running which uses a ‘trike’ to support the athlete’s body, giving them the sensation of free movement.

Ian proved a natural at frame running, and has proven committed to training in all weathers – even making the 30-mile round trip to his training site near Edinburgh, twice a week.

The training sessions have given Ian confidence, freedom and friendship, and he has played a pivotal role in growing the club to a team of six.

In addition to helping support the club’s growth, Ian also took part in a medical study based at Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh (the university collaborated with the East Lothian club to develop the squad).

The study, funded by Action Medical Research, looked at the impact of frame running on the health and wellbeing of individuals with walking difficulties.

Ian’s natural talent for dressage has seen him take part in a number of UK-wide events, resulting in him finishing third in the virtual National Championships, riding the mechanical horse Oreo – a first for the competition.

To support his local RDA centre, Ian challenged himself to climb the 8,810 steps that represent Scotland’s highest mountain – Ben Nevis.

Ian raised £1,755, ensuring more young people can benefit from hippotherapy.

Ian received his award on Saturday April 20 from two former winners, Bella Field and Katriona Goodsell, at the Rotary Young Citizen Awards ceremony in Alcester, Warwickshire, home of Rotary GB&I.

Ian was nominated for his Rotary Young Citizen Award by the Rotary Club of Braids.

Rotarian Pauline Skinner said: “It is fantastic to hear that Ian has won the Rotary Young Citizen Sporting Hero award.

“Through his work with his athletics club he has raised the profile of frame running in Edinburgh.

“His fundraising for RDA has enabled others to share the benefits of horse riding. He has shown that anything is possible.”

Ian was chosen as a 2024 winner alongside eight other young people.

Now in its 17th anniversary year, the Rotary Young Citizen Awards was launched in 2007 to celebrate the achievements of young people across Great Britain and Ireland. Nominations are put forward by Rotary Clubs.

Find out more about the inspirational Rotary Young Citizen Award Winners 2024 at www.rotarygbi.org.

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