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30 April 2016


Staff at Bedford-headquartered Autoglass® will be tracking the progress of colleague Nigel Doggett next week as he embarks on the gruelling Marathon des Sables on 8 April 2016, with the aim of raising over £130,000 for Hft, a national charity for people with learning disabilities.

The Marathon des Sables involves running six marathons over six days in the Sahara desert in temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius. The total distance covered is 251km (156 miles). Participants have to carry their own provisions, sleeping gear, medical supplies and essentials for the week. Only water is provided. Dehydration, blisters, swollen feet, and being rounded up by the camel sweepers are just some of the challenges competitors face. 

Hft is a recognised leader in using personalised technology (also known as assistive technology) to support people with learning disabilities to live more independently and safely. 

Hft currently supports more than 2,500 people across the country including 78 people in Bedfordshire.  This includes supporting people with learning disabilities to live independently in their own homes, providing employment services to help people develop skills and experience for work and helping people to pursue hobbies, make new friends and get involved in their local communities. Nigel has been a Trustee of HfT for more than 3 years and his brother Nick receives its support.  

Nigel, who has the support of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, also a former Marathon des Sables competitor, said: I have set myself a challenging target of £130,000 which is helped enormously by the offer of £50k matched funding from Forbes Charitable Foundation. All of the money raised will go to the Hft Personalised Technology programme which really does achieve the very best outcomes for people by enabling them to live as independently and safely as possible.  

His tough training regime has included early morning runs with his spaniel, Luna, and Bikram yoga to help prepare his body for running in the ferocious desert heat. A week before the event he plans heat chamber sessions to acclimatise. But it's not all been plain sailing: a recent bout of heatstroke, following a business trip, has given him a taste of the very real dangers which face him in the Sahara desert.

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To find out more about Hft, or to find out how you can get involved, please go online to


Notes to editors 

About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting people with learning disabilities and their families.  Everything we do focuses on helping the people we support live the life they choose. We are committed to supporting people with learning disabilities to live the life they choose.

Around 1.1 million adults have a learning disability in England. A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to: 

Understand new or complex information

Learn new skills

Live independently 

We support people by:

Working in partnership with them and those that know them well to create flexible services that meet their needs, whether they need a lot of support, or just occasionally.

Where possible, involving them in deciding who supports them so they have the opportunity to do things they like, whether that's meeting new friends, developing hobbies, working or volunteering.

Involving them in deciding how we run Hft, both locally and nationally.

Supporting them to have the home life they want, whether that's in a residential home, at home with their family, or in their own home. 

Helping them be independent by looking at their needs and using the right technology to meet those needs, as well as to develop the skills and confidence to do things themselves where they can.

Providing free support and information to families and carers of all people with learning disabilities whether or not they're supported by Hft through our dedicated family support line on 0808 801 0448.  

Hft also works closely with local authorities and other agencies to find the best solutions to meet a person's needs.

For further information please contact: Susanna White, PR & Media Manager, on 0117 906 1755 or 

For media enquiries, outside of office hours please call 0117 906 1697

For more information on Hft please visit

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