A SMALL Ayr-based charity that helps children and their families manage Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is delighted after a nearby gym group climbed Ben Nevis in their honour at the weekend – raising an incredible £1,165.

South Ayrshire Autistic Society (SAAS) are a local-run charity that supports children and families with ASD by arranging group outings and meetings for parents and carers.

As they are self-funded, the charity do what they can throughout the year to stay afloat by holding different events such as raffles and tombolas to bring the money in.

However, when they were approached by Prime performance community team in Kilmarnock who wanted to fundraise for the charity by taking on a Ben Nevis challenge, chairperson Sharon Stobbs and her husband, John, could not pass up the offer.

On Saturday, May 29, 20 climbers banded together to complete the tough trek. All monies raised will go towards Summer activities and outings for SAAS kids.

Sharon and John told the Advertiser: “The team all have links to autism in their families or personal lives and they chose SAAS as they wanted to support a local charity that help kids with Autism.

“Some headed up on the Friday night and the rest met them on Saturday morning. They did it in one day. We’re not fit enough to climb up there and our mascot, the SAASY penguin, is too scared of heights!

“John has autism and so do our four children so we started going along to the charity many years ago. We’ve been running it for 10 or 11 years now. It’s went from strength to strength. So many more people are getting diagnosed with autism because it’s more easily identified now whereas back then, when our kids got diagnosed, it wasn’t quite as popular. There are a lot families needing help but unfortunately it’s always left to the third sector.

“We take families from all over Ayrshire and further afield, too. We’re quite happy to take anyone who is willing to travel to Ayr.”

Sharon added: “All our activities are free at point of participation, that’s why we need to fundraise throughout the year because it’s less of a burden for families if they don’t need to think about the cost of things.

“We’re hoping to work with the Prime team again in the future.

“It’s a fantastic fundraiser for us so we’re very grateful.”

Allister Kennedy from Prime performance said: “My little brother is autistic and when myself and Stefan mentioned this charity every single member of the bootcamp team was so eager to raise funds and get the climb completed.

“All of them can relate to it and see how much this fundraiser is going to help.

“We absolutely smashed it.”

To donate, visit https://bit.ly/3yNEIv3