A FOUR-year-old autistic girl’s mission to talk again has taken another step forward in Swindon.

Coco Bradford, born in Swindon and now living with parents Rachel and Luke in Cornwall, was born with no complications and cleared the first hurdles in her life without trouble.

But after 26 months that changed and the family around her found Coco would no longer respond to her name and could no longer speak or share her thoughts. Her progress and learning stopped. She was diagnosed with autism and for the past two years her family has tried all it can to raise money for applied behaviour analysis.

One year’s therapy can cost £45,000 and treatment began two-and-a-half months ago with the £12,000 already raised by those supporting her cause in Cornwall.

She has already taken huge strides forward, but more funding is needed to keep a regular run of treatment going.

Grandparents Dave and Nina Sharland, of Meadow Way, Badbury, organised an auction and raffle at Swindon Gas Sports and Social Club from 7.30pm.

Around 2,000 tickets were sold around Swindon, such is the determination of the pair to put the word out through as many friends and contacts as possible.

“The response has been fantastic from the public. From people buying the tickets to donating prizes, it’s been quite overwhelming,” said Dave, 68.

“It’s been time and effort, but it’s been for a short period of time.”

The Sharlands have been at the centre of Coco’s struggle since her diagnosis, staying in close touch with daughter Rachel.

Dave said the biggest heartache for the family has been watching on, with Coco unable to express whether she’s hungry, thirsty, scared or unwell.

But he has been overjoyed with the progress his granddaughter is already making with her first bouts of ABA.

“From not talking at all, she can count from one to 15, it’s amazing what she can do. It’s a long process and an expensive one,” he said.

“From not talking at all, she’s now picking up those words she last used two years ago.”

“She’s counting as she used to at two-and-a-half and getting back into the place she was.”

There were more than 20 prizes available in the raffle, with meals for two, an iPad and gift vouchers up for grabs plus an auction.

Three holidays, two in Cornwall and one in Greece, were available to the highest bidder, along with two luxury watches and endless memorabilia from a variety of pursuits.

Visit: www.gogetfunding.com/cocos-autism-journey.