Online challenge helps autism group

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A group of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) enthusiasts and followers of the Fight First Foundation (FFF) have put themselves through a whole series of physical ordeals, not in the ring or cage but to raise money for a local autism charity.

Proposed and organised by FFF’s, Lewis Simpson, who is well know for his interviews and podcasts with big names on the worldwide MMA circuit, he devised a series of challenges which the participants would undertake when donations reached a predetermined amount.

Taking part over 24 hours live on social media, they attracted a large following who watched and donated money to see them undertaking each challenge. While the whole event was carried out in a great spirit of fun, many of the events involved harmless, but unpleasant tasks, with viewers and donors sending messages of encouragement, laughing with them and congratulating them on their successes.

Day and night the boys stuck to their instructions, which included eating a spoonful of cinnamon powder, a raw egg, a chilli, pouring a bucket of icy water over themselves or eating 10 burgers. For larger sums and after the initial 24-hour challenge, they also agreed to a body wax, dye their hair blond, get a piercing or even a tattoo. While taking part in the challenges the boys also agreed to donate one pound every time they swore!

Lewis Simpson and ‘the team’ had hoped to raise around £1,000 for the group, but with their tremendous enthusiasm and willingness to get involved in a wide range of quirky challenges, they actually raised almost five times as much with a final figure of £4,840.

Lewis said: ‘We picked Lochaber Autism Group because it was formed by parents who felt that there was very little professional support for their children so they took it upon themselves to give them a safe environment where they are accepted and parents can share advice.

‘The guys were so keen to take part and did everything that was thrown at them with great enthusiasm and a laugh for the full 24 hours, while being watched live on Facebook.

‘I would like to thank them and also the many people who donated money. It really was a great experience for a good cause and I’m glad it worked so well.’

Amie Wallace of the Autism Group said: ‘All the families are completely overwhelmed by the boys’ efforts and the children are looking forward to finding fun activities to use the money for.

‘We rely on our own fundraising and this has been difficult due to Covid, so we are looking forward to a brighter future with the kids using this amazing amount of money.’