Hayley Bicker, a 40-year-old mum of two from Crewe, has been locked inside a glass box for 123 hours in order to raise awareness of autism, and the work that the national charity Caudwell Children does in supporting young people with the condition.
However, it won’t be the first time that Hayley, a Community Champion for Tesco, has been incarcerated! When she begins her challenge, at 11:00am on Monday 23rd November, it will be exactly a year to the day since she left the very same box having spent 100 hours in solitary confinement for the same cause.
If Hayley completes her latest challenge she will exit the 3×2 metre box, located within the foyer of the Tesco Extra store in Vernon Way, Crewe, CW1 2DD, at 2:00pm on Saturday 28th November.
But this year Hayley will be accompanied on her ‘Locked in for Autism’ challenge by 39-year-old, mum of three, Donna Macdonald.
‘Locked in for Autism’ was created by Caudwell Children, who provide practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
Donna, a former pupil at Ruskin High School in Crewe, is excited about her imminent ‘Lock In’. As she explained: “We’re the best of friends and we really bounce off each other! If one of us is down the other will do something daft to pick them up.
“Obviously, I witnessed Haley’s challenge last year so I know all about it and what it takes to get through it. It will be tough but we’ve invited loads of dignitaries, schools, groups and associations into the store to chat and entertain us and generally keep us occupied.”
Hayley, who gained national media coverage on BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 Live with her 2014 challenge, decided on 123 hours after considering her objectives for this year’s event. She said: “It’s quite simple! We want to increase awareness, acceptance and understanding of autism. The figure of 123 fits perfectly with this three pronged approach to what we want to achieve.
“However, this means that we will be spending almost a day more in the box than I did last year. As a result we’ve had to create a programme of activities to get us through the challenge. And I have to say the support that we’ve had has been unbelievable.”
Pebble Brook Primary School choir will be in the store to sing them into the box, on Monday 23 November, whilst ex Crewe Alexandra legend; Steve Jones will pay the pair a visit in the evening.
Other highlights include a visit by the Minister of State for Children and Families and MP for Crewe and Nantwich, Edward Timpson at 10:00am on Friday 27th November.
Andy Bailey, from Caudwell Children, says the glass box is an accepted metaphor for the condition. He said: “One mother of an autistic boy that we support explained to me that being seen from all directions, whilst being isolated and finding it difficult to communicate, is often how those with autism feel.
“Whilst I appreciate that all children are different many parents have agreed with this description. Hayley and Donna’s challenge will be a very public and poignant demonstration of support to those families who live with the condition.”
You can support Hayley and Donna’s’ Locked in for Autism’ challenge through their Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/hayleyanddonna
You can also make a text donation by texting Text LIFA49 £amount to 70070