SHADOW Minister for Disabled People, Debbie Abrahams, visited Langtree Park on Friday (May 13) to back Saints' campaign to raise funds for St Helens Autism Support.

Saints have launched a one-off replica shirt for Rugby League's Magic Weekend and the special edition kit will be worn in Newcastle when they play Huddersfield Giants this Saturday (May 22).

Debbie Abrahams, who is MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, said: "What Saints' campaign demonstrates is how sports clubs can help raise the profile of important issues because they are so well integrated into their local communities.

"I've come along today to talk to Mike about how we can take the example of this campaign and share it with other clubs across all sports.

"If all clubs worked in this way just think how quickly and effectively we could disseminate messages about all sorts of key issues that affect society, especially around disability issues."

She added: "Having autism, or having someone with autism in your family, can be a very isolating situation when so few of us really understand the condition. But when a club like Saints takes the time to raise the profile of an issue, it can help us to talk more openly about it and start to break down the barriers."

Ms Abrahams was joined at the ground by St Helens MPs Conor McGinn and Marie Rimmer.

Mike Rush, CEO of St Helens RFC, said: "Since launching the shirt we have received support from all over the world and across all sections of sport, TV and music.

"We estimate that well in excess of 11 million people have had access to information about our shirt thanks to social media.

"That is doubly pleasing for me as not only has it already had a positive impact on people in our local area but it is raising funds for a cause very close to my heart."

Each replica shirt, which carries the logo of St Helens Autism Support, will be signed and auctioned off for the charity.