A VOLUNTARY group which helps those living with autism in Cheshire West is encouraging people to step forward in support of the condition.

Volunteers from the Cheshire West and Chester branch of The National Autistic Society are encouraging families to take part in a walk at Delamere Forest to raise funds and awareness for the group.

The Train Walk, which takes place on Saturday, June 18, is a family-friendly event based on the classic Thomas & Friends™ books and characters.

Rachel Niestroj, a volunteer for the Cheshire West and Chester branch of the National Autistic Society, said: “We are hoping that many families from the area will join in.

“All the money raised will be used to run local events, such as awareness raising and training days for parents and professionals.”

There are two main routes that can be walked, 2.7 miles and 1.7 miles. There are flags for the children as well as medals, badges and certificates. There will be free parking by the Linmere Lodge Centre as well as by the station.

Rachel added: “Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition, but when a person is given the right support at the right time this can make an enormous difference to their outcomes in life.”

As well as the Train Walk, the Cheshire West and Chester group is holding its AGM on Tuesday, June 28, at 7pm in Ellesmere Port Civic Hall. The guest speaker will be Ros Blackburn. Ros was diagnosed at the age of one as severely autistic but with average intellectual ability. As an adult, she is a highly respected international speaker on autism.

Due to the popularity of the speaker, the free event will be repeated on June 29 at 10am.

To join the walk or for more details on the AGM, leave a message on the branch information line 01244 315651 or email cheshirewest@nas.org.uk.