Pals set to scale highest UK mountains to raise cash for Johnstone autism centre

A determined group of friends will be scaling the three highest mountains in the UK to raise cash for an autism centre.

The group – who have been dubbed The Magnificent Seven – are currently in training in all weather conditions to complete the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge next month.

The tough expedition is being taken on by Benny McSwegan, Kenny Nimmo, Davie Locke, Myles McSwegan, Brian Gibson, Euan Stuart and John Mcilravey.

Together they will take on the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales – totalling almost 11,000ft – in just 24 hours. 

The seven pals will be driven almost 500 miles to each location by their friend Andrew McNidder to compete the extreme hiking challenge. 

Their efforts have already raised almost £900 for the Always Included centre in Johnstone, which is the first of its kind in the area.

The centre, in Walkinshaw Street, offers classes, courses and support groups to help families whose lives have been touched by autism.



Treasurer of Always Included Ashley Spiers McSwegan, whose four-year-old son Rueben is autistic, said: “They have done so well so far and have been out doing lots of training to get themselves in shape for the challenge. 

“They have already raised a fantastic amount of money, which is going to be a big help for us to set up our playgroups for the kids.

“The training has been really tough as it’s going to be a big challenge but they are all really keen and we are so grateful they are taking this on to help us pay for equipment for our playgroup.” 

Always Included was set up by mum-of-six Lynne McLean after watching her six-year-old son Christopher’s life being transformed by support groups.



With other mums Ashley and Angela Armour, she has been working to get the centre ready for children in the Renfrewshire area. 

All three mums have children with autism and were inspired by the difference attending groups makes to the youngsters’ lives.

In February, the building suffered £20,000 of damage during Storm Ciara, leaving their dream of setting up a haven for autistic children and their families in jeopardy.

But thanks to an appeal from the Paisley Daily Express, they were able to source materials from generous local firms so repair work could go ahead.

They now hope they will be able to finally complete the work and have the centre ready to open later this month.



Ashley added: “The centre is looking so much better.

“It has been a lot of work to get it ready and we have had to do a lot to try and source materials and get funding but we are hoping we will be able to have it up and running soon.”

While the Three Peaks Challenge is raising vital cash for the first-of-its-kind centre – Always Included is also hoping another generous fundraiser will take them a step closer to their dream.

Renfrewshire DJ Charles Docherty, known as DJ Cha, will be hosting an online rave this weekend to help boost the charity’s funds.

 Four DJs will be participating in the online Dance for Autism event tomorrow, which is set to be streamed live on
Facebook.

Charles is also raffling off a Dance for Autism soft toy for the centre and has already raised more than £600.

Ashley added: “It’s going to be an online rave which is great fun and they will have a fundraising page for people to donate some money to us.

“It’s fantastic so have so much support from people to help us get the centre up and
running.”

To make a donation to the Three Peaks Challenge, go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/magnificent7

Daily Record – Paisley