A BUSINESS owner is aiming to raise the profile of a local charity which provides support for children and adults with learning difficulties by tackling the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

James Szkiler, owner of Malton Coachworks and the Classic and Sports Car Centre, was recently elected as chairman of Ryedale and District Mencap.

He said: “Mencap has been a charity close to my heart for many years. My elder sister Victoria is 36 years old and has the most common type of Down’s Syndrome - Trisomy 21.

“Victoria is a loving and happy lady with a disarming smile, but is profoundly affected by her disability and charities like Mencap with the services and activities they provide are a very important part of her life.

“Ryedale Mencap needs support in order to secure the charity’s long-term future and ensure they can continue to provide these local services.

“The charity is currently limited to employing just one person for 20 hours per week and more hands-on support is urgently required.

“Having done little fundraising in recent years, I felt it was right to demonstrate my commitment to Ryedale Mencap by taking on a serious challenge.”

James and a team of 15 from the Malton area will be walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks on Sunday, November 18.

“The demanding route is over 24 miles and includes a 1,585 metre ascent. The challenge takes on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, usually in this order and in under 12 hours,” he said.

“I’m expecting it to be extremely arduous with weather risks and lack of daylight later in the day.

“I must confess to a lack of experience for this sort of challenge, which is why I’ve asked some experienced friends and family to come along and join me.

“I hope they make the challenge more enjoyable but more importantly they will be assisting me in raising much needed funds.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor James can do so at justgiving.com/fundraising/jamesszkiler2