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Press release: for release Friday 17th May 2002

Life is for living�

George Bedell, MBE, will be celebrating his 67th birthday in his usual style. The former decorator and signwriter, lecturer, adviser on the employment of disabled people and latterly chair of Sunderland Health Authority, will be in the middle of a sponsored cycle trip of over 1000 miles from Maryland to Maine in the USA. George, who has lived all his life in Tyne and Wear, plans to begin his trip on 1 June 2002 and will average about 60 miles per day.

He will be using the trip to raise funds for Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities. Skill supports thousands of disabled students every year through its freephone information service. George is an honorary life member of Skill and has been committed to improving opportunities for disabled students ever since he spent twelve years working with disabled students at South Shields Marine & Technical College.

George Bedell said, "All of my life, cycling has been a passion and it's wonderful to be fit and able to pursue this passion whilst raising money for a good cause. Cycling is the most exciting way to travel. You are on the road, under your own steam, driving to achieve your goal. It's like life itself and Skill does a great job in helping young people gain the confidence, to make the journey, and achieve their goals. This, truly, is a worthy cause".

Barbara Waters, Skill's Chief Executive, said, "Skill is delighted that George is taking this opportunity to raise funds to help promote opportunities for disabled students. It is a very busy time for Skill at the moment as the first legal rights for disabled students will start to come into force from September 2002. Skill is busy working to ensure that institutions are aware of their obligations under the new legislation and that disabled students can access the support they need."

Anyone interested in sponsoring George should contact Skill's fundraisers, Tel: 0207 450 0620, or visit the website that George has set up especially for sponsorship collection and so that supporters can monitor the progress of his journey. To visit the website, go to:

For further information or to arrange an interview or photo shoot with George Bedell, please contact Liz Victor at Skill, Tel: 0207 450 0643, Email: [email protected].

Notes to editors:

1. Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities gives information and advice to thousands of disabled students every year on how to maximise their experiences in education (higher and further), volunteering, training, and employment. The Skill information service is open from Monday to Thursday, 1:30pm to 4:30pm, on 0800 328 5050 (voice) or 0800 068 2422 (text). Extensive information is publicly available on Skill's website: Skill also advises government policy makers and disseminates good practice through publications, conferences and professional networks. Skill is a registered charity (no. 801971) with offices in London, Belfast and Edinburgh.

2. The Disability Discrimination Act Part 4: Education (Special Educational Needs and Disability Act) became law in May 2001. It is an amendment to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and covers pre- and post-16 education, making discrimination against disabled students in the provision of education unlawful from September 2002 in England, Wales and Scotland.

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Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities is a company limited by guarantee (2397897) and a registered charity (801971).
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