WHEN Gabriel Herbert was diagnosed with autism earlier this year, aged four, the help he and his family received from the National Autistic Society (NAS) Cymru was, says dad Mark, "invaluable."

Now Mark has delivered on his intention to do something for the society in return for the support it provided, by raising more than £1,000 by completing a gruelling physical challenge.

PC Herbert, based at Bedwas police station, along with five Gwent Police colleagues, completed the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge, climbing Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen-y-Fan in the Snowdonia range, and beating their 15-hour target by just five minutes.

The six - PC Herbert, Dean Williams, Troy Elliot, Karen Hartshorne, Keith Williams and Roy Bell, assisted by Mike Abela and Andy Hillier on between-peaks driving and logistics duties - battled cold and incessant rain and in PC Herbert's case a pulled leg muscle sustained on Cadair Idris, the toughest of the climbs.

The event was organised by PC Herbert through the NAS £Grand Intentions scheme, which invites potential fundraisers to sign up to raise £1,000 and choose their own way to do it.

"Autism is a serious, lifelong, and disabling condition, which is much more common than many people realise," said PC Herbert.

"More than half a million people in the UK have autism. We attended the NAS Earlybird scheme which really helped us understand Gabriel’s autism and find ways to help him.

"So far we’ve raised £1,400 for the NAS, which is well over our initial target. I’d definitely do another fundraiser, but maybe something drier next time!"

Anyone interested in organising their own £Grand Intention, in aid of the NAS, may contact the NAS £Grand Intentions team on 08456 78 36 58 or visit www.think-differently.org.uk/grandintentions