STAFF from national footwear retailer Charles Clinkard, which has its headquarters in the North East, were ready to walk-the-walk in support of their autistic colleague Nathan Atkinson.

Nathan, 28, who works as a sales assistant at the Northallerton store, signed up for the Cleveland Four Peaks walk to raise money for autism charity Daisy Chain – and in a show of comradeship plenty of his colleagues were up for the challenge as well.

Those at his side included his shop manager Sue Chappell and co-worker Louise Ross.

The trio formed part of the Charles Clinkard team which raised more than £1,000 for Daisy Chain by walking from Roseberry Topping to Captain Cook’s Monument to Codhill Heights and Highcliffe Nab.

Nathan, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, has worked for the company for four years and he can’t praise its approach to employing people on the autism spectrum enough.

The condition means that Nathan always speaks his mind but has a great memory and is very organised and methodical.

From past experience he knows how hard it can be to find an employer willing to make concessions for staff and customers alike with autism.

“I have found a real sense of inclusion here at Charles Clinkard and I wanted to repay some of the generosity shown to me.

“Not only has the company given me a job it also offers benefits such as appointments at quieter times, dimmed lights and sensory packs for children to customers with autism.”

Nathan has the full support of his colleagues so it was only fitting they should with him for the arduous walk.

Sue Chappell said: “Nathan is a valued member of our team and we wanted to support his efforts to give something back to those who have helped him over the years.

“It was hard work but worth every moment of the aching legs and sore feet!”

Charles Clinkard, Managing Director, said: “Daisy Chain does a fabulous job in the North East region and we are proud to support the charity.

“We are a family firm and our extended family includes our staff. Nathan is a credit to himself, to the company and to the autistic community. He is a great example of why firms like us, should employ people with spectrum conditions.”