Leamington man to take on 56 challenges in a year to help district’s homeless

Steve Atherton
Steve Atherton

A Leamington man is taking on 56 challenges this year for his 56th birthday 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.

He said: “When I was on a run through Leamington I noticed how many people were on the streets making homes in doorways of shops and I thought this is just crazy. Things shouldn’t be like that.

“It really got under my skin and really played on my mind and I thought ‘I can’t just sit and watch this happen’.

“I didn’t know what to do for the homeless people. I didn’t know if to give them things or to give them money but I knew I had to do something.”

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.

Steve was made aware of Helping Hands, which is a charity that helps homeless and vulnerable people in the Warwick district.

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

Steve has made a list of around 60 different challenges and he is aiming to complete 56 in a year.

The challenges include running the Two Castles Run in fancy dress, driving a tank and busking.

He said: “I have a hideous list and there is a real variety. The first challenge on this list is to run 56 times with 56 different people and my friend has said that one of them has to be James Bond star Daniel Craig because we have run past what is thought to be his house and because he has rumoured links to Leamington.

“I am also trying to get on TV, trying to be a mascot at a sports event and I will be joining Helping Hands’ Big Sleepout. My least favourite is the challenge of giving up alcohol for 56 days.”

Steve’s challenges will start on May 30, which is his 56th birthday and he will work through the year to complete his challenges.

Lianne Kirkman, Helping Hands manager said: “Steve sent a list of fantastic challenges which are just amazing. There are a few challenges we can help him with but he is going to need lots of help to fulfil them all. If anyone can help him that would be fantastic.”

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