A RALLYING cry has gone out to the Bicester people to get behind a couple hoping to build a £2.5m disability day centre in the town.

Former town mayor Les Sibley made his appeal as a last hurrah before stepping down this week, urging people to back plans for the centre supporting those with learning difficulties.

Parents Ian and Rachael Scott-Hunter have taken on the challenge of building the centre, inspired by their own experience caring for their 45-year-old daughter Alexandra who has severe learning difficulties, following various cuts to the sector over recent years.

Mr Sibley said: "Rachael and Ian have a really great story, of course inspired by their daughter, and now it is about building on that and urging people to do what they can to help.

"I pledge to support them in every way I can, to get people on board to help achieve their dream.

"With resources forever diminishing it is getting harder and harder to provide these services, but this is something I think would be welcomed by the people of Bicester and something which will enable adults with severe learning disabilities to get out in the community in a place where they will feel safe and protected, valued and happy."

Plans have been drawn up for the £2.5m centre Alexandra House of Joy after an un-named landowner gifted the couple just under an acre of land in Bicester – worth approximately £1m – in March. The exact location is currently confidential.

The couple, who won official charity status from the Charity Commission earlier this year, have since raised almost £20,000 in just a couple of months through friends, family and public donations.

Mr Sibley added: "It is a colossal amount of money they need to raise and to get that in a certain amount of time is a real challenge.

"That is why I am urging the people of Bicester to get involved in this fantastic new project – one that is much-needed for the area."

In his last hurrah as town mayor, Mr Sibley hosted a fundraising event for the cause in which Mr Scott-Hunter spoke of his time as a footman for the Royal family at Buckingham Palace. Mrs Scott-Hunter then took to the floor to talk about the project.

She said afterwards: "It was a brilliant event and Les put so much effort into making it happen.

"It was just good to let people know about the charity locally.

"There are two big factors for us, including making people aware of the charity, but also it is about breaking down those barriers to get people interested in adults with learning disabilities.

"They teach us so much about life, our daughter for example is in severe pain everyday but is still cheerful and laughs and giggles.

"Breaking down those barriers is going to be a big hurdle but we will keep plugging away. I am determined to get there somehow."

Mr Scott-Hunter said she was excited to get the ball rolling with a number of volunteers signed up to help and plans progressing.

The charity is now looking for businesses and people to donate or help fundraise, as well as looking for volunteers for the cause.

For details or to donate see alexandrahouseofjoy.co.uk or email alexandrahouseofjoy@gmail.com