A LIMITED edition Darwen Tower Lego model has been sent half way across the world to try and help a severely-autistic woman.
Australian Lauren Winbanks, 21, was diagnosed at the age of six and was recently told she has face blindness, meaning her ability to recognise familiar faces is impaired.
Her communication and social skills have been severely impacted, but one of the things which makes her engage with people better is by building Lego.
When Lauren spotted the Jubilee Tower set which had been sold by Darwen Rotary Club, she desperately wanted one to add to her collection of architecture models.
Only 250 of the models were commissioned and they had all sold out when Lauren’s mum Dianne, who she lives with in Melbourne, got in touch with John Jacklin at the club.
But Mr Jacklin managed to source one from Rev Geoff Tolley, 80, who said he would offer his up to Lauren for the original price of £52.50.
The money will go towards the Rotary Club’s project to build a 25,000 Lego brick version of the tower and raise £25,000 for charity.
Mrs Winbanks said his generosity meant so much to the family.
She said: “I cannot even begin to say just how emotional I was to firstly get a reply about this and secondly to get such an empathetic one.
“John clearly understood the story behind us wanting this set so desperately and just how important it was in Lauren’s world.
“He could have taken the easy option and just said there was none left but he went out and left no stone unturned to source one.
“It was kind and generous of Rev Tolley to come to the rescue.”
Lauren also lives with her dad Jeff and twin brother Matthew.
She started showing an interest in Lego when she was 12 and her parents noticed she became ‘completely absorbed by it’ and all her strengths ‘came to the fore’.
Demand for the collectable model started coming in from around the world last month.
Rev Tolley, who used to perform services at the Central United Reformed Church, said: “I just wanted to help Lauren after the letter we got from her mum.
“It seemed the Lego was really helping her deal with her condition.”
Mrs Winbanks said: “When we first bought a Lego Taj Mahal for Lauren we lost our kitchen table for about eight weeks.
“I hope sharing Lauren’s tale will muster support for the Lego tower which still has a way to go. It's an amazing concept.”