St Marychurch Supporting National Autistic Society

stmarychurch1-2An important element of the Torbay Civic Award is the charity work. Children have to adopt a cause or a charity close to their hearts and find a way of supporting it. For many, choosing that cause is an easy decision as they know first hand how their families have been supported in difficult times. One girl knew immediately what charity she would support: the National Autistic Society.

Inspired by her twin brothers, Luca and Louie, who have both been diagnosed with autism, a pupil from St Marychurch C of E Primary School, Antonia Standen, recently organised a 5K run and raised over £400 for the National Autistic Society. She was supported by her friend Violet Mcardle. Both girls are pupils at St Marychurch and both are working towards the Torbay Civic Award.

Antonia’s mum and dad have been helped by the charity which runs the NAS EarlyBird course which they attended together with Luca and Louie’s one to one Learning Support Assistants, to learn strategies for helping Luca and Louie to increase their communication skills, vocabulary and day to day interaction.

After hearing of the work of the NAS, the girls decided to raise funds to help the charity to continue to provide information, support and services to people with autism and their families across the UK.

“I like to help people’ said Antonia. “I try to help my brothers by showing them what is right and what is not right’

“Some people don’t realise what autism is,” said Violet. “It affects a lot of children and adults and if people don’t understand they might not treat autistic people with respect. I wanted to help my friend too”

The girls were accompanied on the run by Antonia’s cousin Amara Baxter, and St Marychurch C of E school teacher and one of the Autism Champions for Torbay schools, Lizzie Hurford. Antonia’s brothers also joined the girls for the last leg of the run, from Torquay Harbour to Paignton Geopark.

Antonia said: “Before I started the run I was a little nervous but at the end I felt really happy that I had completed it and raised so much money for the National Autistic Society. The Torbay Civic Award has made me realise that I can help people“

“I felt very proud,” said Violet. “But I was quite relieved that it was over! It was hard!””