SIX mums who all have children with autism have vowed to 'cross' the English Channel in an ambitious fundraising challenge.

The intrepid team from Winsford plan to row 23,120 metres, the distance from England to France, by the end of October, ADHD awareness month.

They have also pledged to lose 15 stone between them over the next 12 months.

The women all belong to One Step at a Time, a support group for families who have children with autism.

Founder Gabriella Della-Rocca, 27, whose daughter Erin, eight, has autism, said: "I am a mum on a mission to create an autism-friendly community.

"My aim is to create a safe place where families can come and not feel judged."

The group, registered as a social enterprise, was only launched in June and is now helping around 30 families.

"I started off because I felt alone and isolated and that I had no support at all. We now have 3,000 followers. All the girls work so hard, I'm so proud of them.

"We're like a little family now helping and supporting each other."

Families have enjoyed a trip to Jodrell Bank Observatory and come face to face with snakes when live animals visited the project.

Sharing activities has given the youngsters confidence and helped them to relax and have fun.

"A lot of the children feel isolated and often get bullied," said Gabriella. "One little boy used to cling to his mum but he got down and played and got involved with other children. His mum cried, she was so relieved to see him joining in.

"We had a community birthday party for my daughter with cake, sweets and people dressed up as characters. It was amazing."

Mums Mary Duong, 24, Sarah Gregory, 43, Rachael Millington, 35, Helen Spence, 41, and Jessica Cole and Gabriella are tackling their rowing challenge at Funk Fitness on John Street, where owner Ashley Wood has offered to guide them.

The support group now meets at Wharton Library every Thursday from 9.30am to 12 and admission is free.

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