25 May Clacton Pier turning blue to help six-year-old raise funds for an assistance dog
Six-year-old Beau Bell from Clacton-on-Sea was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in January this year. He experiences sensory overload, finds social situations hard and is easily overwhelmed.
Mum Sable Shaw, 27, is raising funds for an autism assistance dog from charity Supporting Paws for Beau. Sable and her supporters have already raised over £3,000 and hope to raise a total of £8,500 to cover the dog’s training.
On May 29, Beau, Sable and around 10 friends and family will be walking a section of around five miles between Clacton Pier to Walton Pier as part of the Marvel Superhero Series Find your Power Challenge. The staff at Clacton Pier have agreed to light the pier up in blue for the evening to show their support of the challenge and Beau’s campaign.
Clacton Pier director Billy Ball said that the attraction’s lighting is used on occasions to highlight national awareness days and to support specific charities within the community.
‘On May 29 we will be supporting autism awareness and acceptance, as well as marking the sponsored walk to raise money for a dog for Beau,’ he added.
‘We wish him, his family and friends every success with their fundraising efforts which will make such a difference to his life and help him with the challenges he faces.’
The Find your Power Challenge is a countrywide disability sports event which encourages people to set their own challenges – from 100 metres to 1,000 km or more – and complete them however they want, when they want, between May 29 and June 5. The event is usually a mass participation event taking place at Dorney Lake in Windsor, one of the main sites featured in the 2012 London Olympics. However, it is continuing its ‘At Home’ theme for a second year, due to the pandemic.
The family is supported by children’s charity Tree of Hope who are also a named charity partner of the Marvel Superhero Series for a third year running, helps families fundraise for children like Beau with healthcare needs and provides charity status to benefit from gift aid, corporate support whilst also providing donor reassurance.
Mum Sable, who also has a two-year-old daughter Talia said: ‘We visited a Supporting Paws dog and it was amazing to see Beau with him – Beau was so calm and happy, it was wonderful to see him so content.’
‘Beau gets anxious very easily, whether he’s at home, going to school or we’re going out. I think a dog would really help him to feel calmer and increase his confidence, along with helping when he becomes overwhelmed. The dog will be trained to give deep pressure which is something Beau seeks due to his sensory needs. At home he doesn’t like going to the toilet or upstairs on his own – a dog would be brilliant company and support for him.’
Tree of Hope CEO Gill Gibb said: ‘We are delighted to be supporting Beau and his family in their fundraising and wish them all the best in their continued fundraising.’
To donate to Beau’s fund, visit https://www.treeofhope.org.uk/help-us-to-get-beau-his-own-registered-autism-assistance-dog/