Reillys Party

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  Terrified that no-one would turn up for Reilly’s party.  When I opened the blinds to see the snow bleaching down outside I felt even worse!

I packed up my little mini with raffle and tombola prizes and set off at 2 miles an hour to pick up the party squad and get set up.

I needn’t have worried. At 1 o clock the doors opened and people flooded in.  The room was packed!  Reilly was brilliant for a good hour after that he clung to me and typed McDonalds into my phone constantly 🙂 we spent a bit of time outside and that’s ok. We also spent a little bit of time in the foyer reading a George Pig book.  When you need 5  minutes you need 5 minutes.

The children partied TOGETHER  it was so lovely to see.  It was amazing to hear some of the parents had used examples from my blog to explain about stimming etc to their children before they came.  This is what it’s all about!! Education and acceptance.

Special mentions today go to those people who gave up their own time to come and entertain the children.  These people are priceless coming along at such a busy time to help the local community.

Rite Rhythm Disco  contacted me and said if we ever needed someone for a disco he would love to help us out. He has an autistic son also and gets it.   He did today and did an amazing job.

Party Animals came along to show and tell the children about animals. Snakes, frogs, guinea pigs, dragons. The kids absolutely loved it!!


Martin the Magician was a huge hit! Hilarious and kept the kids entertained perfectly. Thoroughly recommended.


Sandra McGrath from Cramlington Village Club didn’t hesitate when I asked if they could help us out with the venue.  They also donated prizes for our raffle.

Hannah Wilkinson our beautiful Elsa who I only met a few weeks ago came today after I heard her singing at our annual charity ball.  She did an incredible job and the kids were mesmerised by her


Maisey Maxwell our little helper who set up her own stall to do glitter tattoos for the children (and adults I noticed).  Awesome!

And not to forget our raffle ticket, tombola selling, room decorating squad!

With tickets purchased online and the party today Reilly’s party raised just short of £500!



Marce Gaygaskel who plays Granny Mary in the play The Life of Reilly superbly wrote a cheque for £1000 today.  She believes in this project as much as we do.  Absolutely blown away by her generosity.  Cannot thank Marce enough.

Our crowdfunding when all paid in will stand at just over 4k.  We can do this!

We have 12 days then we can fund this pilot and start shooting in February. Crowdfunder Life of Reilly

He’s fast asleep now but has kept looking through the photos and videos.  He absolutely loved the DJ equipment and did a bit scratching 🙂


Manor Walks talks

Thought I would do a really quick post about the suggestions for Manor Walks to become autism friendly.  Background is we had a bad experience with a security guard there, we complained and Manor Walks met with me to tell me their plans for a better shopping experience for people with autism and asked for my suggestions. Alongside Lesley Cole who founded Autism Northumberland and the North East Autism Society I’m hopeful for great changes.

The security staff have already has some training around autism which is great. There has been many emails with lots of different ideas of what would work well.

The most popular idea was a calming sensory area within Manor Walks to be used when things just become too much.

An evening where music would be turned off, tannoy announcements an absolute minimum, lighting dropped etc.  Shopping without sensory overload.  Manor Walks are talking to Lesley at Autism Northumberland already about this.

Personally one of the most difficult aspects of shopping with Reilly is stopping him running off, keeping him safe, avoiding meltdowns and finally actually being able to manage carrying the bags.  These shopping trolleys are popping up more often and I think they would be a great introduction. To my knowledge Sainsburys has one as do Asda.  It would be great to see Manor Walks take ownership of more of these trolleys and that they can be used throughout the whole shopping centre.

Changing spaces are so important not just to children with autism to many children and adults with special needs.   Hand dryers are enemy number 1 for Reilly.  As he gets bigger he is becoming increasingly harder to change, he is too big for drop down changing stations and will do a runner minus pants at any given opportunity.  I cannot imagine how carers manage with an older, larger child/adult.  A changing bed would solve many problems for many people. You should NEVER have to change a child/adult on a toilet floor.

Staff awareness not just with security but also within the shops or representatives from each shop.

Parking spaces and timings.

Much more still to be discussed but thought I’d just let you know there is progress and what the most popular suggestions are.

I’m looking forward to a catch up with Manor Walks and Autism Northumberland very soon. Please continue to send your suggestions.