Accessible transport challenge was ‘huge’

Chris Button travelled the length of the country by public transport to raise awareness of accessibility issues
Chris Button travelled the length of the country by public transport to raise awareness of accessibility issues

Adventurous Chris Button has travelled the length of the country by public transport to raise awareness of accessibility issues.

Chris, 66, has a learning disability and used a wheelchair for the four-day solo trip, so it was quite a challenge for him.

It was the first time he had attempted an independent journey of this nature, taking him from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

Chris said: “It was very hard. I am glad I did that route like that. It was my first one. Next time I want to try coaches.

“Land’s End was the best. I have never been there. They gave me a special evening meal and did a firework display for me.”

Chris has lived in Worthing for more than 30 years and is a member of Worthing Speakabout, a self-advocacy group run by Impact Initiatives for people with learning disabilities.

He campaigns for transport to be more accessible and hoped his trip will raise staff awareness on trains and buses, and in hotels, about people with disabilities.

Chris said: “Because I used a wheelchair for the challenge, different places were harder and some easier. It was a huge distance.

“The staff were fantastic. They were very nice, they treated me like royalty.

“It was important help with the staff awareness about learning disability in the hotel.”

He planned the trip independently and made the journey on his own.

“I chose to do this trip using a wheelchair because nobody has done this particular challenge before to my knowledge, using buses and trains,” he explained.

Chris carried a sponsor form with him all the way, to raise money for Worthing Speakabout.

He said: “Worthing Speakabout is a self-advocacy group for people with learning disabilities that I’m part of. The group helps us to have our voice heard – speak up, complain and access our rights. We need to raise funds to pay our rent and meet.”

Madeline Denny, a Speakabout supporter, helped Chris to raise awareness of his accessible transport challenge and set up an online fundraising page for him at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chris-button1

She said: “We are fundraising for this fantastic group to be able to run, so that they can keep enabling people with learning disabilities to speak up for themselves and campaign on issues that are important.”

Worthing Speakabout meets every fourth Thursday of the month, from 7pm to 9pm, at Methold House, North Street, Worthing. Visit the website worthingspeakabout.wordpress.com

Chris next hopes to travel independently from Penzance to Scotland by coach.