Wigan boy inspires dad to take on charity walking challenge in aid of autism support

A charitable dad is preparing to walk from Wigan to St Helens inspired by his autistic son.

Lee Smith’s son Lee was diagnosed with developmental disorder autism when he was five years old.

Lee Smith with his son, Lee

Lee Smith with his son, Lee

Now Mr Smith said his son, aged eight, is doing well and he wants to raise awareness of his condition.

The 37-year-old will do this by joining dozens of other people in a walk called Pie town to Glass town.

Money raised from the walk will go to charity Autism Initiatives, which supports people with the disorder.

Mr Smith, from Haydock, said: “We’re doing this in partnership with Haydock ladies rugby team.

“There will be around 50 of us on the walk and a lot of us will be in fancy dress.

“So myself and my friend will be dressed as Mario and Luigi while others will be dressed as fishermen.

“The walk will follow the 320 bus route from Wigan to St Helens so people can follow our progress and we’ll be going from Wigan Wetherspoon The Moon Under Water to a Wetherspoon in St Helens.”

Mr Smith is no stranger to charity, as in the past, he has raised funds for Macmillan, the Steve Prescott Foundation and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

He also has his own mental health battles which have seen him self harm in the past after being diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

While last year he was admitted to hospital because his mental health issues made him feel very low.

But he has used his charity fundraising to turn himself around and bring positive energy into his life.

The charity he is raising money for this time, Autism Initiatives, is one that is very close to his heart.

Mr Smith said: “They’ve got 50 years’ experience and do so much to help autistic people.

“And as my son has autism, I just want to do anything to help charities that are dedicated to this cause.

“My son gets by okay and has some behavioural problems but there are people on the autistic spectrum a lot worse than him.

“So I just want to raise as much money as I can really.”

The walk takes place on Saturday February 15 from 10.30am.

Anyone who wants to join Lee in his walk or donate ahead of the event should contact him through Facebook,

Anyone suffering with mental health problems can call the Samaritans on 116123.