Autistic student on the right track for charity walk


AN autistic student will be using a GPS device to help family and friends track him on a charity walk

Jimmy Stephenson, 23, will be wearing a buddi device when he sets off on a charity walk from Hadrian’s Wall to John O’Groats in July, to allow his friends and family to pinpoint his precise location on a map.

The student from Pennyland, who is known as “Cubby”, plans to raise £1,000 for Help for Heroes on the walk which could take up to a month to complete.

His mother Barbara ,56, said: “I’m so proud of him – he hasn’t had an easy life and he has certainly proved me wrong. When he first mentioned it I thought ‘he’s never going to do that’ and yet here we are!”

Jimmy was inspired to raise funds for the forces by his grandfather who died 18 months ago, who had been in the army. Jimmy had hoped to follow in his footsteps but was unable to do so as he has Asperger’s Syndrome. The former Milton Keynes College student had a real admiration for the forces so despite this setback he decided he would raise money by organizing a charity walk instead.

He said: “I have always wanted to go to Scotland as I hear it is a beautiful country and it is such an appealing challenge.”

He will be completing the walk along with his younger sister Megan, 15, and two dogs Lilly and Pickle, and came up with the idea to use a buddi, after his mum raised concerns about a lack of contact in areas of bad mobile phone signal.

Barbara added: “The use of the GPS device has really put my mind at ease. Jimmy was concerned about me worrying about him and Megan, but the buddi is the perfect solution as I will know where they are at all times, especially as they will be camping throughout the trip.”

A buddi device is the size of a matchbox and can be attached to a belt loop, worn on a lanyard around the neck or attached to a bag. Using GPS technology the user of a buddi can be instantly and accurately located to within a few feet anywhere in the world.

Jimmy’s family and friends will be able to track his progress by logging onto the buddi website and seeing his location on a map.

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