Westgate School’s cycle sessions help deaf pupil beat his balance challenge

Zach Clegg with instructor Steve Harradine ANL-150912-110942001
Zach Clegg with instructor Steve Harradine ANL-150912-110942001
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Zach Clegg and his family had given up hope that he could ever learn to ride a bike but they are now looking forward to pedalling together.

Zach, 10, is deaf which, because it affects his balance, made learning to cycle a challenge, but as a pupil at Westgate Primary School in Bury St Edmunds he was offered a place on a Bikelife Suffolk Project, run by Outspoken Training in partnership with Suffolk County Council.

All the school’s Key Stage 2 pupils who could not ride were offered free lessons with Outspoken’s Steven Harradine, a national standard instructor. Within two sessions, Zach was riding a bike without help.

Headteacher Jim Cleaver said Steve worked to boost Zach’s confidence on a bike and show him it was a skill he could master.

Zach’s teacher Tina Rankin said: “The frustration that Zach felt in not being able to push his bike let alone ride it was so disheartening for him.

“Steve really is a miracle worker and we are so grateful for the difference he has made to Zach, who was quite rightly delighted with himself, and to his parents who no longer feel so anxious.”

Zach’s mum Suzanne was amazed at what he achieved in two sessions.

“We have struggled for many years to teach Zach to independently ride a bike,” she added. “Every summer we would get out his bike, in the hope this year we would crack it.

“He did not have the confidence or belief that he could do it and we worried that as he was deaf, his balance hindered him.

“I cannot explain the tears of joy in seeing Zach ride around and around, and when he fell off once, up he got and off he went again.

“ I really had got to the point of thinking Zach would never be able to ride a bike.

“When we went to Center Parcs in October, we had to take scooters for all our children, so Zach did not feel left out. Next October when we go, I truly believe we will all be cycling there together.”