News Cartwheely good effort – North-East gymnasts take a tumble for NEAS ACROBATIC youngsters at a North-East gymnastics club have performed more than 3,000 cartwheels to raise money the North East Autism Society! Supporters all over the country did the sponsored ‘7k for 700k challenge’ during Autism Acceptance Week. They ran, cycled, walked, or swam 7km, in solidarity with the 700,000 autistic people who live in the UK, but one group put a twist on the idea… Twenty young tumblers from Thornaby & Barwick Gymnastics Club travelled the 7km distance by doing cartwheels – an incredible total of 3,472 flips! Together, the budding Teesside gymnasts raised a brilliant £750 to help support the vital work that NEAS does in their region. Kirsty McDougall, the club’s coach, said: I do a lot of work in schools with children with special needs, and one of our gymnasts has a brother who is autistic, so we thought it would be great to support NEAS. Each gymnast performed around 200 cartwheels, with the older members helping younger ones who struggled to reach the challenging target. Kirsty said: We never expected to raise that much for NEAS, but we’re thrilled. We’re a small club, so I was very pleased we had such a brilliant result. The gymnasts were a bit hesitant at first because it was such a big number of cartwheels, but the more they did, the more they got into it – they started to get quite competitive by the end! Everyone was a bit dizzy and sore after that many cartwheels, but they were rightly very proud of what they’d done, and I’m very proud of them all. Sophie Clarke, our community fundraiser, said: We love it when young supporters come up with such clever ways to get involved. The girls have done a brilliant job, and we’re very grateful to them, and to everyone who sponsored them.