A BOY with Down Syndrome and visual impairment proved he is a superhero by completing an ironman walking challenge.

Rather than sitting at home, getting bored and gaining weight during Covid-19 lockdown, Evan Jones’ parents Stephen and Julie encouraged the 17-year-old to go walking.

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Every day he would clock up more miles with his dad, and sometimes mum, twin sister Hallie and his beloved dogs – black Labradors Max and Alfie and cockerpoo Buddy.

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Mr and Mrs Jones, from Sherburn, near Durham, sponsored Evan £1 a mile in aid of the Cheesy Waffles Project, which has been a lifeline for the Durham Trinity School pupil since he was 11-years-old.

Friend Nigel Dodds, who the Jones family supported at an ironman contest in Lanzarote, upped the stakes by challenging him to do 140 miles – the total distance covered in an ironman triathlon.

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He got a Cheesy Waffle vest to wear on each walk, which has attracted lots of support from passers-by, and managed to climb Roseberry Topping and a seven mile hike around Durham on his toughest walking days.

On Sunday Evan did his favourite walk around Sherburn and Pittington and celebrated completing the distance and raising almost £2,000 for Cheesy Waffles.

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The project, based at Belmont Community Centre, offers activities and support for young people with special needs up to the age of 30.

Since the start of lockdown, it has provided daily activities including Zoom meetings so members can see their friends, do quizzes and scavenger hunts; themed projects to learn about subjects like VE Day, US Independence and rock stars and delivered food packs so members can learn to cook at home.

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Mrs Jones said: “Evan absolutely loves it.

“His social life has been amazing since he joined the group and he’s developed life skills, even during lockdown, because of their activities and he loves performing in their shows.

“He’s achieved things we never thought of like his bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards. They encouraged him to camp out in the middle of a field when he wouldn’t sleep in his own bed without ear-defenders when it was windy.

“They have opened up his world, given him confidence and opportunities and that’s provided respite for us, knowing he’s having a great time when he’s there.”

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The family, which includes Evan’s brothers Ashton and Kane and twin sister Hallie, usually holds an annual coffee morning to raise about £1,000 for Cheesy Waffles but had to cancel this year.

Mrs Jones said: “He has loved hearing people’s comments, saying he’s an inspiration and a great young man. We’ve really enjoyed the activities, the walks and helping Cheesy Waffles.

“All Evan wanted as a reward from us was Champagne, which is really lemonade, a pack of Sharpie pens and a colouring book.”

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To sponsor Evan visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/julie-jones-153