A NEWPORT woman is spending 50 hours locked inside a glass box in the foyer of a supermarket to raise awareness of autism.

Amanda Cullen, 45, of Eveswell, who works at Tesco Extra in Spytty Road, entered the 3x2 metre structure today at noon and will not leave until Saturday at 2pm.

Two hours into the challenge, Ms Cullen said everything was fine.

“A lot of people are coming to see me,” she said. “I’m hoping that parents of children with the condition come into the store and tell me about their experiences.

“Only by talking to them will I get a better understanding of the challenges they face every day.

"People have told me that it can be a lonely place when your child is diagnosed on the autistic spectrum.”

Mrs Cullen, who is only allowed a ten minute break every three hours to go to the toilet, said the biggest challenge will be sleeping as it’s a 24/7 store and there’ll be staff and customers in and out all night.

“I’ve never done anything like this before so it will be really interesting to see how I react being in the full gaze of the public,” she said.

Mrs Cullen said that she will miss more than just her two children, Chloe, aged 18 and Harry, aged 16.

“I’m a massive rugby fan and I attend all the home games of Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport RFC," she said.

“I’m gutted that I’ll miss a home game of each club whilst I’m in the box.

“I’m not allowed any electrical devices so I won’t even be able to follow the games on my mobile phone.

“My family will be coming into the store to see me after the game to keep me updated on the scores.”

Mrs Cullen doesn’t have any relatives with autism but she has friends whose children or grandchildren are in the spectrum.

She said: “Autism is one of the country’s most prevalent disabilities, with 133,500 children currently diagnosed with the condition in the UK.

“That’s a staggering number and yet many people, including myself, have little or no understanding of the disability.”

Mrs Cullen is raising money for Caudwell Children, a national charity which supports children with autism.

To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/TESCOSPYTTY