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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Colleagues take on bike ride to help Barrow boss

A BOSS may ask his staff to perform all sorts of tasks – but a 50-mile bike ride is rarely one of them.

CHARITY Five workmates at DSG Vauxhall in Barrow will be taking part in the Tour de Furness on Sunday, to raise money for the National Autistic Society. From left: Keith Palmer, Ian Wallace, Martin Steel, Tom Brannon and James Gardner JON GRANGER REF: 50052988B001

However, five workmates from DSG Vauxhall, Barrow, are preparing to tackle the gruelling Tour de Furness challenge on Sunday to raise money for a local charity.

Aftersales manager Martin Steel, 43, from Walney, has enlisted the help of his colleagues to raise vital funds for the Furness Branch of the National Autistic Society.

Mr Steel’s son Brogan, aged nine, has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a condition on the autistic spectrum.

He said: “We were all doing quite a bit of cycling anyway through the Bike to Work Scheme, and it came from that really.

“I had been looking to do something for NAS for a while, and one day my wife Sarah said ‘why don’t you do the Tour de Furness?”

Mr Steel will be joined on the ride by colleagues Ian Wallace, Keith Palmer, Tom Brannon and James Gardner.

He said: “I asked them all to join in and they kindly volunteered. I don’t know if they felt obliged to say yes because I’m the boss!”

Brogan, a pupil at South Walney Junior School, was clinically diagnosed with Asperger’s last year.

Mr Steel said: “It takes a long time to get a diagnosis, but we knew since he was around four that he was somewhere on the autistic spectrum.”

Children with Asperger’s may have problems with social communication, social interaction and social imagination – known as a triad in medical circles.

However many individuals with the condition have higher than average intelligence in particular areas.

Mr Steel said: “Brogan is classed as gifted and talented at school – and he is good at maths and English. “He’s really into his gaming, and he wants to be a games programmer when he grows up.”

Brogan has also been inspired by the fact the creator of the smash hit TV and video game franchise Pokemon, Satoshi Tajiri, also has Asperger’s syndrome.

The Furness branch of NAS has helped the Steel family learn more about the condition.

Mr Steel added: “We didn’t know anybody with Asperger’s before we had Brogan, and the NAS just gave us someone to talk to.”

Mr Steel thanked Iain Stoker, managing director at DSG, for sponsoring the ride.

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