Torbay trailblazer helping disabled

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2014
Kim Corkin

WHEELCHAIR-FRIENDLY: Kim Corkin leads a group people with disabilities through the bush.

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A second successful print run for charity booklet, Superb Walks in Albany and East Coast Bays, is helping keep tracks open for the disabled.

Hugh Willis of Torbay, who runs the Elevate Christian Charity Trust, has spent more than 40 years improving access to bush walks for the disabled.

Together with a team of volunteer students from the Freestyle Training Academy, he levels out walks, making it possible for even wheelchair-bound people to enjoy many of them.

Mr Willis says the help he has received from the academy has been "absolutely incredible".

"People are really thrilled when they get in there and walk," he says.

Mr Willis says he's worked on 12 routes, cutting "dozens" of kilometres.

The tracks have "got better and better" over time, he says.

A committed Christian, Mr Willis has an evangelical energy about spreading the word about hiking for everyone - hence the encouraging, 33-page colour booklet he's written.

"It's such a beautiful little experience, getting out in the bush," he says.

Costing $5 each, the booklets are available at Torbay Pharmacy or the Albany and East Coast Bays libraries.

His first print run of 1200 sold out, with the second run of 1500 already on the shelves.

"The whole $5 goes to the disability charity ministry," he says.

Wife Di says the trust aims to equip disabled people and educate churchgoers about them.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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