FAMILIES shone the spotlight on autism by wearing their onesies to a charity party which organisers said went beyond their wildest dreams.

Last Wednesday adults and children swapped clothes for onesies to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day at the Ainsworth Arms in Bury and Bolton Road, Radcliffe.

The fundraiser was organised by Heywood-based charity Trewan Sands Children’s Trust, which funds holidays for children with terminal illnesses or disabilities and their families.

Trustees planned the event in a whirlwind 11 days and to date have raised £513.87.

Louise Dawson, trustee for Trewan Sands Children’s Trust, said: “Onesie Wednesday went absolutely brilliantly, and the amount of families that turned up was beyond anything we could have dreamed of.

“The best thing was the amount of families from the local area who we are now going to arrange holidays for.

“The event came about from a flippant comment to the landlord of the Ainsworth Arms, Graeme Heaton, and we only had 11 days from that to the day of the event — seven days of which I was on holiday.

“Thank goodness for laptops, tablets and Facebook which is where all our donations came from.

“We would like to thank everyone who donated prizes and attended and a big thank you to the Ainsworth Arms staff who donated all their tips from the day.”

Entertainment came from Granddaddy and Nanny Trumbell, an appearance from Peppa Pig, and performance from local group Freak Dance.

The fundraiser also included a cake sale by Emma Fellows, raffle, face painting and football cards with a prize of a signed photograph of Paul Scholes.

Louise added: “Trewan Sands is promoting World Autism Awareness Day because a high number of our holiday applications come from families with children with autism or that are on the spectrum.

“We are just trying to break down the barriers and raise people’s awareness.

“This is no cure for autism but with the support and understanding of others we are trying to make a difference of these children’s lives.

“The needs of autistic children vary dramatically and they require round-the-clock support. This is a strain on all family members.”

For more information: search Trewan Sands Children’s Trust on Facebook or follow @TSCTrust on Twitter.

Awareness day Mum’s the word to boost autism cause

A MOTHER whose five-year-old son has autism helped raise £300 in under two hours on the seventh annual Autism Awareness Day.

Lisamarie Ward, whose son Oliver was diagnosed with the condition last year, helped organise an afternoon event at Woodbank Children’s Centre in Brandlesholme Road, Brandlesholme, to raise awareness of the disorder.

The fun event, which lasted an hour and a half, was attended by around 150 people, including children, adults, staff at the centre and local businesses.

Adults and children wore onesies, while there was also a cake sale, raffle, balloons, and ducklings.

Miss Ward, aged 32, of Brandlesholme, says she was “overwhelmed” by the response to the fundraiser.

She said: “All in all, it was an absolute success. The turnout was phenomenal and everybody loved it.

“Hopefully this will help educate mainstream children on autism.

“Not all autistic children are the same — Oliver looks normal and acts normally, the problem he has is socially.

“There are different spectrums of the disorder.  It’s good to spread awareness of it, because I don’t think there’s enough awareness out there.”

Autism Awareness Day took place last Wednesday with organisations around the world celebrating the day by putting on fundraising events.