DAD Craig Wilkinson and his two bubbly boys are celebrating raising a bucket load of funds for the North East Autism Society.

Enlisting the support of friends and family to join him in undertaking the Aqua Dash in Darlington meant Craig could take part in the wet and wild family fundraiser with his two young sons, Jack, four and seven-year-old Charlie, who has autism and severe learning difficulties.

The intrepid trio not only raised £675 but they also braved the fun run together.

PE Teacher Craig said:

Charlie particularly loved the soap and bubbles and went through that section about 20 times. He was then a really slippery character to keep hold of!

Ahead of the event Craig had set up a JustGiving page where he explained the difficulties the day would hold for Charlie.

He wrote:

It will be really difficult to get round but we are more determined than ever! Charlie won't understand what is happening due to his autism BUT I am confident that I can get him round and through the water, although we may have to stop and do the fun obstacles a number of times!

And while more than 600 people took to the park to face the splashtastic course, Craig admitted such an event was more than just a ‘fun run’ for his family, already impacted by autism spectrum conditions.

Craig Wilkinson and family at Aqua Dash

He added;

I'm nervous because it will be so busy so we’re not sure how Charlie will react but thanks to the support from a number of friends who have also signed up I am sure we can crack it!

And he was right. Sophie Clarke, event fundraiser for NEAS, said:

We’d like to say a massive thank you to Craig and his gorgeous boys for not only signing up and raising money but for choosing to help raise awareness of autism, and The North East Autism Society.

Those of us who watched Charlie cross the finish line were grinning almost as much as he was. It was a huge achievement from all three of them and we really appreciate their efforts. Everyone who took part helped raise much-needed funds for our free services and when that many people turn out together we can’t help but make a splash for autism awareness.