For the first time ever, Preston Minster turned a shade of blue to mark World Autism Awareness Day.
Just like the Empire State Building, Elvis Presley’s Graceland and Lancashire’s own Blackpool Tower, the city landmark was given a tinted hue to commemorate the international day of recognising the condition.
Claire Sheehan, of Leyland, and Rebecca Taylor, of Farington, were just two of the parents behind the project to bring more awareness orf the condition to Preston.
Claire, whose 17-year-old son, Daniel, has autistic spectrum conditions, said: “Prior to this year, World Autism Awareness Day had never been marked in Preston and it is the first year that so many events have been held in central Lancashire. As Preston is our local city, it was the best place to turn a monument blue and to hold the events.”
Over 32 different stands, including those from groups and organisations who support people with autism and their families, came together on the Flag Market where a blue ribbon was cut by the Mayor of Preston, Coun Veronica Afrin, to open the occasion.
Rebecca, who runs the Junior Autism Group (a support group for children under 11) and has an eight-year-old son, Joshua, with the condition, said: “We wanted to be big, bold, bright and beautiful and we certainly were.
“An awful lot of bridges were built on the day and it just goes to show that it is vitally important that people know there are groups and organisations that can help. Autism is a hidden disability and people can say some really hurtful things, but if we start the conversation we can all benefit.”