FESTIVE shoppers flocked to New Warlands Farm today to make our Christmas market the busiest ever.

The farm, near Burnhope, in County Durham, was turned into a Santa’s grotto as an array of crafts and other goods – made with the help of service-users – went on sale.

Gifts ranged from hedgehog houses made in the woodshop, to plants grown on the farm, cards, decorations, cakes, sweets, and bottles of freshly pressed home-made apple juice.

North East Autism Society chief executive John Phillipson said: “It is definitely the busiest Christmas market we’ve had, and we are really grateful to everyone for coming and supporting the charity in such a positive and festive way.”

The Mayor of Stanley, Carole Hampson, popped along to help on the tombola and said:

“It’s just a pleasure to support a fantastic charity that provides such amazing care.”

New NEAS merchandise was also selling like hotcakes at the market. Red and blue t-shirts, capturing Father Christmas’ sleigh leaving a gold neurodiversity infinity loop in its wake, have been produced, along with matching bobble hats.

Those buying the festive products automatically make a generous donation to help establish 2020 programmes for young people who are autistic or non-neurotypical.

Click here for more information on the campaign and to purchase Christmas merchandise