A GRAND charity ball which a remarkable young boy has helped organise takes place in Crewkerne this weekend.
Riley Lye, nine, from Yeovil, has Asperger Syndrome and has helped promote the event to raise awareness of his serious, lifelong and disabling condition.
He has lined up, with a little assistance from his mum, a night full of entertainment, including a three-course meal and appearances by former X-Factor contestant Scott James and Autistic Superstars’ Carly Ryan.
The event will also feature a wine reception, raffle, auctions and a DJ.
Riley was first diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, when he was six.
He is one of about 5,300 people living with autism in Somerset, a condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, as well as how they make sense of the world around them.
All proceeds will go to three charities that support children with autism in Somerset: Five Ways special school, Children’s Autism Outreach Team and the Somerset branch of The National Autistic Society (NAS).
Riley’s mum, Victoria Powis, said: “I’m delighted with the response we’ve had to the ball so far and am so proud of Riley for helping to organise it.
“Riley has come so far over the last few years but still struggles to make friends and gets frustrated when other children his age can’t understand the way he is.
“I hope our ball will raise awareness of his condition and send out a message that it’s okay to be different.”
Helen Brown, from the Somerset branch of the NAS, said: “We’re delighted Riley and Victoria are organising such a great event to support our branch and other organisations working for children with autism in the area.
“Riley is truly inspirational and shows us that it really is possible to create a better world for people affected by autism.
“I hope as many people get involved in the ball as possible and help to make it a huge success.”
Riley’s Wish is on Saturday from 6pm at Haselbury Mill in Crewkerne. To book tickets see www.rileyswish.co.uk/the-events