A FATHER is set to embark on a 72-mile bike ride in a show of gratitude for the community radio station that helped boost his autistic daughter’s confidence.

Simon Cousins, of Uffington, will tackle Wales’s Five Valleys Sportive on Sunday, August 31 to raise funds for Swindon 105.5 and its founder Shirley Ludford, who trained his 22-year-old daughter Laura and helped her broaden her horizons.

The developer engineer for Smiths News said: “Laura has been volunteering at the radio station for three years now.

“In her time at the station, Laura has presented features on radio on a whole range of topics. She has acquired many useful skills which has improved her confidence in social situations.

“Swindon 105.5 does an amazing job in supporting and promoting community projects and giving young people the skills and confidence to find work.

“The station is totally reliant on grants, sponsorship and goodwill so it is really important that money is raised for this important local service.”

Shirley Ludford was moved by Simon’s decision to support Swindon 105.5.

“Laura has developed her confidence so much, I am proud of her,” she said. “I am also delighted at Simon’s enthusiasm in putting in so much personal effort to express his belief in our work. He in turn deserves support for his rather arduous challenge.”