WORKERS at a centre for disabled children rushed to the aid of a distraught mum whose autistic daughter began attacking shoppers.

Staff at the privately-owned Blue Tin Roof, in Mill Hill, Blackburn, made an emergency dash after the 10-year-old girl became distressed in the town centre.

Owner Andrea Brighouse and a centre volunteer went to offer support after the incident in Claire's accessory shop, in Stonybutts.

They helped calm mother and daughter before taking the child to doctors. They stayed with them for several hours.

The girl used to attended the centre and her mum, who asked not to be named, said: "My daughter can be very challenging and decided to attack innocent shoppers in the town centre. I could not think of anyone else to call.

"They were a life-saver. They are putting in place a service which is not available through social services or anyone else.

"No one else can really understand what it is like to live with disabled children."

The Blue Tin Roof, which opened in December, risked putting Andrea and husband Colin on the bread line. It offers unique facilities and services to hundreds of families across East Lancashire.

But the couple, along with manager Jan Cook, have worked tirelessly to support families in need, most recently offering this emergency support.

Andrea, of Preston New Road, whose 16-year-old daughter is also handicapped, said: "There was some confusion over what the girl wanted and she became upset. She became very violent, attacking members of the public."

The centre in Charnley Street is still suffering financial difficulties and can be contacted on 01254 278378.