A dedicated group have spent the last year searching for the smallest of items that mean the world to special young people.

The Little Blue Cup movement began in November 2016 when Marc Carter, from Devon, desperately needed a specific blue cup for his autistic son who would not drink from anything else.

Marc’s then 13-year-old son would not drink from any other cup, but this particular model was no longer being manufactured.

A Twitter appeal to find an exact replacement received over 12,000 retweets and offers from all over the globe to help.

Now, Marc - along with Allan and Carly Mason from Sidcup - run the simple project to help parents and carers of children and adults with special needs, autism and disabilities find cups, bottles or something small that keeps them happy.

Mr Mason, 46, wanted to find a cup for his six-year-old daughter Esme who also has autism. After seeing Mr Carter’s story go viral, he decided to get involved as well.

He said: “I’ve been friends with Marc for over a year now, doing this. I give him a kick when it gets tough, because it can be frustrating.

“I suppose we do it to make a difference. When a child like this loses something their world can end, and I’ve seen that happen. What else would I be doing?”

Mr Mason, along with his wife and Mr Carter, organise the project which can get anywhere from five to 20 requests from parents a day needing the most unique things.

Hours, days and weeks can go into searching for the specific items, which are found by a dedicated team of searchers.

Recent happy results from the viral searches include a girl from Dartford find a bottle and a family from Thamesmead find a Lion King comforter.

The searches are international, and have a backing of 25,400 Facebook followers who share the special appeals.

Mr Mason said: “It has to be the exact thing, otherwise these children won’t want it. It means everything to them, and not everyone gets that

“It can be hard with children with special needs, so the little things we can do to help really do make all the difference. We have so many stories that we tell, and others that we don’t. It’s about helping the people who are desperate.

“Some searches can go on for days, others can be sorted by the time I’ve made a cup of tea. The more people that are aware of it, the better.”

Little Blue Cup has a Justgiving page - GoFundMe.com/LittleBlueCup - where donations to keep the project moving can be made. See the current searches visit LittleBlueCup.org.

Mr Mason now has 35 cups for Esme and Mr Carter has 500 for his son.