A SCHOOLBOY with Asperger’s syndrome is set to take on a charity skydive to help people with autism.
James Farrington, 15, who lives in Castle Eaton, will be jumping out of a plane at 10,000ft at Redlands Airfield on Saturday, May 2.
The jump will take place two days after his 16th birthday but James, a delivery agent with the Adver, isn’t doing the jump as a mere treat – he wants to highlight the struggles that people with autism face.
Asperger’s, a type of autism, is a condition that causes social discomfort and can make interaction difficult. James, an Uplands School pupil, hopes to raise £500 for the National Autistic Society in the charity challenge.
“I’m not nervous about jumping out of the plane. It is something which I’ve been waiting to do since I was 11,” said James, who delivers the paper to neighbours in his village.
“I don’t think many of the people I deliver the newspaper to know that I’m doing the skydive, so it’ll be a surprise for them when they read it in the newspaper.”
Due to his condition, James has experienced difficulties in his life but he is determined to support the charity to ensure more help is available for autistic people and their families.
His dad Paul said: “James said something incredibly insightful about the jump. I asked him whether he wanted to raise money for specific Asperger’s groups, but he wanted to support the National Autistic Society.
"That is because in his life he’s come across people all across the autism spectrum, not just Asperger’s, and feels that everyone deserves equal help. I think it is great that he’s shown a degree of empathy that people don’t associate with those with have autism,” said dad Paul Farrington.
“He wants to raise awareness of autism and the problems that can be caused due to a lack of understanding of autism. This is a widely misunderstood invisible disability.”
James’ family and friends have given their backing to his fundraising feat.
To help raise money for the charity, James he will be holding a car wash in his village in April.
James, A fire cadet, army cadet and explorer scout, he is no stranger to good causes having previously taken part in a charity abseil at Great Western Hospital.
He enjoys delivering the Adver in his community and in 2012 he was voted delivery agent of the year.
“It has been brilliant for him as he goes round getting to know people and building his confidence,” said Paul.
“A lot of people told me afterwards, the stories of why they voted for him, and one neighbour said that they spotted him out on his round walking the dog and she was surprised to see that he took the time to clean up after it.”
Paul, who said he was proud of James' fundraising, added: “Having a child with special needs is bloody difficult but it’s a rewarding challenge as it is all about helping him learn to deal with his condition and live independently.”
To sponsor James visit www.justgiving.com/jamesfarrington