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By hrbrsd | Thursday, December 12, 2013, 13:02

A Surbiton woman has brought some Christmas cheer to a local organisation that supports people on the autistic spectrum and their families.

Zara Drewett raised more than £200 for Kingston upon Thames-based charity 'Express CIC', set up by two parents with children with autism.

The 36-year-old joined thousands of other runners dressed as Santa to take part in the annual 'Do It For Charity' 5K run in Victoria Park, Bow.

Mum of two Zara was sponsored by friends, and colleagues at care provider Regard in Kingston where she works as finance controller.

"It was an absolutely brilliant day," said Zara. "There were so many people taking part and cheering us on, it was an experience I'll never forget.

"Seeing thousands of Santas all in one place was a bit mind-boggling. It was the best fun, and I enjoyed every minute.

"The race was a bit tough-going at times as I was so hot in my outfit, but it was worth every step.

"I'm thrilled to do all I can to help autistic people and their families in the borough."

Express CIC is Regard's charity of the year. The company has raised a further £200 from selling tuck shop items and scented candles. Regard are fund matching donations so the total raised is over £800 so far.

Still in its early stages, Express CIC is aiming to provide a service to give people with autism the ability to gain valuable social skills and work experience opportunities.

It would also like to establish an autism-friendly community cafe/hub in the borough and provide a drop-in advice service and support for families and volunteer opportunities.

Writer and performer John Williams, who created the award-winning blog and one- man show 'My Son's Not Rainman' and who has a son with autism, is patron of the organisation.

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