AN EX-SOLIDER was inspired by his disabled step daughter to tackle his mental health issues.

Andy Triplow from Ardrossan ‘went into a downward spiral’ after serving in the army but decided to get fit after meeting Louisa turner, 15, who suffers from cerebral palsy and autism.

The 34-year-old now wants to give back to his wife Ellie Triplow’s daughter by doing a major 21 mile walk with weights on his back to raise money for Louisa’s Butterfly club at school.

It is a holiday club for children that have special needs and complex learning needs that lets them make friends, explore, and go on adventures, but relies on donations and volunteers to make it possible.

Now the proud stepdad will walk from the Falkirk Wheel to Glasgow next year.

Andy said: “My step daughter goes to the James McFarlane School in Ardrossan and is involved with the Butterfly Club and that’s why I’m doing it.

“She gets a lot of enjoyment out that wee club but it depends on donations and I feel the least I can do is raise money to make the kids happy.

“This year one of Louisa’s friends passed away which is hard for the families, some of the kids at the school do have a limited life span and we want to make them as happy as possible while they are here.

“It gives the parents a bit of respite as well and time to do something themselves even if it is just to chill or get something organised.

“It really makes the rest of us happy too.

“Louisa has cerebral palsy and autism, even though she’s 15 she has the mentality of about a four year old so needs a bit of help.

“She has been going to that school for quite a while now and it has been brilliant.

“You see other kids having water fights or running about and the kids at the James McFarlane school can’t all do that.

“She’s not able to do a lot of stuff but she’s always happy when I pick her up from the club during the holidays, all the kids are.

“Louisa might be in a lot of pain but never shows it and she just gets on and smiles like one happy child no matter what and that keeps me going.

“She is one of the more capable students at that school and after everything she’s gone through she is my wee inspiration.

“I’m an ex-Army man myself and I went into a bit of a downward spiral with my own mental health.

“But with Louisa being the way she is it inspired me to get myself fit, she is so energetic it makes me want to focus on myself and help others as much as possible.”

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