Challenges underway for Leamington man trying to help district’s homeless

Steve Atherton taking part as a sauce bottle in the Two Castles run.
Steve Atherton taking part as a sauce bottle in the Two Castles run.

A kind-hearted Leamington man has kicked off his year of challenges to help the district’s homeless.

Steve Atherton, who now lives in Warwick, decided he wanted to do something to help after becoming aware of the homelessness problem while running through Leamington.

Steve Atherton on a fruit and veg stall at Warwick market.

Steve Atherton on a fruit and veg stall at Warwick market.

After adapting a friend’s birthday bucket list idea, Steve decided for the year that he is 56 that he would complete 56 challenges.

His campaign is called “56 not out challenge”.

He is hoping that by taking on the challenges he will raise awareness about the homelessness issue in the district. He is also hoping to raise money off the back of his challenges for Leamington-based charity Helping Hands and the national homeless charity Shelter.

He said: “The charities do it day in day out - helping people stay alive and getting back on their feet. By doing this I am helping my home town. I love Leamington and I love the Warwickshire area.

Steve Atherton during his radio piece.

Steve Atherton during his radio piece.

“I feel very privileged to live here and by doing this I will be putting something back into the community.”

Steve turned 56 on May 30, which started his year-long countdown to tackle and complete his challenges

Steve said: “I have done three challenges off my list so far.

“On the day of my birthday I made it onto the radio. Last Saturday I worked at a fruit and vegetable stall at Warwick market and I took part in the Two Castles Run last Sunday.

Steve Atherton (on the ground) after the Two Castles run.

Steve Atherton (on the ground) after the Two Castles run.

“Working on the market was absolutely fabulous and it restored my faith in human nature and it gave me an insight into man helping fellow man, which was very touching.

“I got to raise a bit of money and it gave me a chance to speak to people; a lot of people also came to say hello.”

Before Steve’s challenges kicked off, he appealed on Facebook for ideas of what fancy dress costume to wear for the Two Castles Run.

After several ideas were voiced Steve picked the suggestion of running in a tomato sauce bottle costume.

Steve Atherton on the fruit and veg stall at Warwick market.

Steve Atherton on the fruit and veg stall at Warwick market.

He said: “The idea came from someone very early on and I thought it was a really good idea as my logo is similar.

“Running in the costume was very hot but the support was amazing. When I finished I was very very hot.

“The outfit will be making another appearance though.”

Steve has so far managed to raise £400 for Helping Hands and is now setting up his next challenges, which will be a sunrise run and a sunset run as well as helping out at a soup kitchen.

Steve said: “I am planning my next challenges and I have got my London Marathon place to run for Shelter, which is a national homeless charity.

“I am doing a one mile swim in the Serpentine River and I have sorted my ride on a Harley Davidson.

Steve Atherton during the Two Castles Run.

Steve Atherton during the Two Castles Run.

“I am still looking for local celebrities to join me on a run and I am looking for someone who has a steam roller or a steam powered vehicle that I can drive or ride on.”

Steve is using his Facebook page “56 not out” and his blog: https://steveatherton.wordpress.com to share his challenges.

If anyone can help Steve with a challenge they should email sath001@hotmail.co.uk. Anyone who would like to donate money should go to https://www.justgiving.com/teams/56notout.