There's no stopping Connagh thanks to Cyc-Ability in Stratford - The Leamington Observer

There's no stopping Connagh thanks to Cyc-Ability in Stratford

THERE’S no stopping Connagh Aspinall now he has a place to ride his trike.

Connagh is just one of many members benefiting from Heart of England Mencap’s Cyc-Ability group in Stratford.

Connagh is a 24-year-old with Cerebral Palsy who lives in Shipston. Originally from Lancashire, he is absolutely committed to making the most of every day.

As a very active member of Heart of England Mencap’s Cyc-Ability group, which meets every Thursday at the recreation ground, Connagh is sharing his story of living with a disability and the challenges of participating in physical activities, as part of Think Active’s Moving Stories campaign.

Moving Stories aims to shine a light on everyday people, who are using sport to improve all elements of their wellbeing.

Heart of England Mencap is a charity that supports people with learning disabilities across Warwickshire and Worcestershire, with an HQ in Stratford.

Connagh has been joining in the sessions on a Thursday in Stratford for more than a year now and very rarely misses an opportunity to get on board his specially customised trike and speedily do laps of the rec.

Connagh said: “I absolutely love coming to Cyc-Ability, I even came straight from the airport after getting home from a family holiday one time.

“Being a part of the group has really given me such a fantastic opportunity to re-ignite my love of cycling. I had a trike when I was younger, but out-grew it in my early teenager years. So when I joined Cyc-Ability, it was after a period of about ten years where I hadn’t ridden at all.”

Kate Buttrick coordinates the Cyc-Ability group for Heart of England Mencap and has been instrumental in helping the sessions thrive and grow, with more than 25 people regularly attending every week and new bikes and trikes being funded to accommodate people with a wide variety of additional needs.

Kate said: “All the bikes and trikes we use, have to be bought from a specialist supplier called Tomcat, who are based in Gloucester as they’re all customised and tailored to the needs of our members.

“The trike that Connagh pedals himself, has had a special device fitted to the right pedal, which compensates for the weakness he has from the Cerebral Palsy which affects his right-hand side. This was a bespoke customisation of the trike made by one of our dedicated volunteers, who was an engineer in a former life.”

Connagh is one of the youngest members of the Cyc-Ability group, but he is by no means the quietest.

He is a key member of the ‘Reach Out’ group, a stakeholder consultation team, who meet every six weeks to give advice and feedback to the Heart of England Mencap services.

Connagh talks openly and comfortably about his disability.

He said: “It isn’t always easy, when you have a disability like Cerebral Palsy, to be able to do the things that others take for granted. Spending time with my family, going out for the day or playing games must be planned and thought about.

“The Cyc-Ability group has had such a positive impact on me. It gives me something to look forward to every week, it has introduced me to new friends and made me exercise for the first time in years. I’m now starting to plan to go and play golf with my dad, which I can’t wait for.”

To find out more about Cyc-Ability visit


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