A BUSINESS owner has helped raise more than £13,000 for a local charity which provides support for children and adults with learning difficulties.

James Szkiler, owner of Malton Coachworks and the Classic and Sports Car Centre, who was recently elected as chairman of Ryedale and District Mencap, tackled the Yorkshire Three Peaks as part of a team of 15.

He said: “I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of friends, colleagues and clients, and I’m delighted to confirm that with their support, we have managed to raise over £13,000.

“These funds will be carefully used to impact those with disabilities in our local area and as an immediate direct impact, the charity has been able to increase the hours of the one current member of staff in order improve and expand the current services.”

James said Mencap had been a charity close to his heart for many years. “My elder sister Victoria is 36 years old and has the most common type of Down’s Syndrome - Trisomy 21,” he said.

“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.

“I am quite conscious that we are all asked to donate and sponsor on a regular basis and it is not possible to help and support every request.

“With this in mind, I feel privileged to have such generosity and goodwill around me.”

James said completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks has been a wonderful experience.

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

“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.”

For more information, go to ryedalemencap.com