FESTIVE shoppers flocked to a County Durham farm to give a charity its busiest ever Christmas market.

New Warlands Farm, near Burnhope, 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 in aid of the North East Autism Society.

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.