A VOLUNTEER at a Keighley centre which provides support to refugees and asylum seekers is tackling a mammoth charity bike ride.

Michal Piecyk is setting off this month to take on the gruelling North Coast 500, around the north of Scotland.

He aims to complete the 516-mile route in seven days.

Michal will be camping overnight – and carrying all his own food, the tent and other essentials.

The Good Shepherd Centre volunteer is raising money for the Bingley-based Down Syndrome Training and Support Service.

It provides a wide range of information, training and support to professionals and parents of children with Down Syndrome.

The charity supports over 360 families and 200 organisations across the health, education and social care sectors.

Michal also aims to raise awareness of the cause, which has a special personal meaning for him.

His young godson Szymon, the son of Good Shepherd Centre manager Dorota Plata, has Down Syndrome.

“Volunteering at the Good Shepherd Centre has allowed me to come across many individuals in need,” said Michal.

“I truly believe that every person is special. And I believe that children and adults born with Down Syndrome are amazing – we could learn from them how to be happy, enjoy every second of our lives and be part of our community.

“Szymon has already changed mine and many other people’s perceptions about these amazing children and adults. I am proud to be his godfather and I enjoy every minute with this smiley little boy.’’

The North Coast 500 starts in Inverness, weaves its way along the west coast to Applecross and then northwards towards the towns of Torridon and Ullapool.

From there, the route takes in some of the most northerly coastal points in Scotland – passing by Caithness and John O’Groats – before heading south through Dingwall and back to Inverness.

“This is a very tough challenge ­– but with people’s support the miles will fly by!” said Michal.

He has set-up an online fundraising page, at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MichalPiecyk, with a target of raising £2,500.

People will be able to follow his progress during the ride, from May 22, at thegoodshepherdcentre.org.uk and on Facebook.