Penny farthing cyclist hands £10k donation to specialist school

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Pupils at a local school for children with autism were delighted to welcome back one of their greatest supporters of 2016 when he visited on his penny farthing to present a cheque for £10,000.

Jigsaw is a specialist day school committed to educating children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Based on Dunsfold Park, it is one of only around 10 schools in the UK to use Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) as its teaching methodology.

It exists to improve the lives of children and families affected by autism through education, training and research.

Neil Melville-Rae, a member and sponsor of The Penny Farthing Club, took on the challenge of cycling his penny farthing from Marble Arch in London to the Arc d’Triomphe in Paris in July.

At the time Neil explained how he mastered the penny farthing: “Anybody that can ride a pushbike will – with a little bit of tuition – be quite proficient on a penny farthing.”

Being no stranger to extreme challenges, Neil has previously taken on an Ironman triathlon and La Classicissima – the world’s longest one-day cycling race, 185 miles from Milan to Sanremo.

Having completed the 276 mile journey – which included 24 miles across the Channel by kayak – in 26 hours 41 mins, Neil was keen to return to Jigsaw to present a cheque for £10,000. The money is being combined with funds raised by current Jigsaw teacher, Hayley Wadham, and former Jigsaw teacher, Liz Ruff, when they competed in this year’s Brighton Marathon, to refurbish a Sensory Room for pupils at the school.

Jigsaw’s Community & Events Fundraiser, Sally Ward, was delighted with the total amount raised, saying: “Our Sensory Room is enjoyed by all of our pupils and is so well used that we have been wanting to refurbish it with new equipment for quite some time. Thanks to Neil’s amazing fundraising efforts we are looking forward to introducing our pupils to the newly named ‘Melville-Rae Sensory Room’ when it opens in the New Year. On behalf of all the pupils and staff here I would like to say a huge thank you to him for his incredible support.”

If you would still like to sponsor Neil go to

Contributed by the Jigsaw School