AN 18-year-old man with Downs syndrome has received a specialist tricycle that will allow him to keep fit by riding outside with his family.

Due to his condition, Ethan Valentine-Smith, from New Bold, is unable to ride a standard bicycle.

This meant he couldn’t join the family on their regular bike rides.

Ethan’s mother Tracey, 57, said her son was left a disappointed onlooker when members of the family went out on their bikes.

So, she and her husband Chris, 60, decided to take their son to a local charity that promoted accessible riding through the use of adapted tricycles.

“He absolutely loved it,” explained Tracey.

“He was able to ride around trails that were undulating in parts, but they were short and wide enough to easily navigate through.”

The pair decided to buy an adapted tricycle for Ethan but they discovered that there was a significant financial barrier to them securing one for their son.

As Chris explained: “The tricycle that best suited Ethan’s needs cost an eye watering £1,500 which was way beyond our budget.”

Tracey and Chris had resigned themselves to being unable to buy the tricycle that their son needed but then they were told about Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.

The charity agreed to provide the fundraising support needed to pay for a specialist tricycle for the Mill Green School student, and now he can join his parents on the rides that they take as part of their daily exercise during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Ethan keeps himself extremely active in the home,” explained Tracey. “His favourite subject at school is drama, it’s a real passion of his.

“He loves acting on stage and he just enjoys entertaining people, so much so that he’s currently downloading a weekly post on Never Be Lonley Again, a Facebook Group that I created to support lonely people.

“He films himself dancing, and doing his own free form things, and the members, who are aged 18 and over, leave comments saying how he’s keeping their spirits up during these difficult times.”

But now, thanks to Caudwell Children, Ethan can be active outdoors too. “He needed to get out and get more physically active,” said Chris. “Now he can get outside and enjoy some fresh air and whilst he’s having fun he’s also getting loads of exercise.”

Specialist therapy tricycles have been designed to aid physical development and rehabilitation, and they build up core muscle strength.

Chris says the process for applying for funding through Caudwell Children was really simple and he and Tracey were delighted when they found out their application had been successful.

“Ethan would make friends with or without the new tricycle but it was noticeable, before the coronavirus crisis, that other children and their parents were stopping us to ask about it,” exclaimed Tracey. “He can’t wait until the time when he can get out on it for longer, it will make a big difference to him.”

Mark Bushell, from Caudwell Children, says that the fitness benefits of the tricycle will be as important as the fun for Ethan.

He said: “The new tricycle has been engineered to make pedalling that much easier, and soon Ethan will be able to pedal everywhere.

“Before they receive a specialist tricycle some children have lots of energy that they are unable to burn off. With this equipment they’re able to do loads of high impact activity without really noticing it and it will help give Ethan good cardiovascular exercise.”

To find out more on Caudwell Children visit