Vauxhall supports epic charity ride for local girl


Steve Downey, Neil Fowler and Ciara pose next to their Vauxhall Vivaro

Vauxhall has supplied a Vivaro van to two local men undertaking a 1,300-mile charity bike-ride from Ellesmere Port to Venice, as they raise funds for sufferers of Rett Syndrome, which affects the five-year-old daughter of one of the men.


Pals Neil Fowler and Steve Downey aim to complete the ride, which includes four Alpine climbs and cycling up to 200 miles per day, in just seven days. Their target is to raise £20,000 for charity Reverse Rett and to raise awareness of Rett Syndrome, a serious neurological disorder.


Neil’s five-year-old daughter, Ciara, suffers from Rett Syndrome, a developmental disorder almost exclusively found in girls and caused by a random genetic mutation at conception.


Sufferers lose vital skills such as walking, talking, feeding and use of their hands. The disorder can also cause a number of other issues, such as breathing difficulties, seizures and even sudden unexplained death. It is often described as combining the symptoms of autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and anxiety disorders, all in one.


"As things stand, there is no treatment or cure for Rett Syndrome. Life expectancy is significantly reduced and Ciara, along with others girls, faces the prospect of a life in a wheelchair and 24-hour, one-to-one care," said Neil, who is a physiotherapist at the Countess of Chester Hospital.


Stefan Fesser, Vauxhall’s Plant Director at Ellesmere Port, said: “We are delighted to offer our Vivaro as a support vehicle for this challenge. All at Vauxhall wish Neil and Steve all the very best on their epic journey.”


To learn more about the Port2Port challenge and Rett Syndrome and to make a donation, please visit: