Northumberland company Tommee Tippee has announced it is to manufacture a batch of cups for a severely autistic boy at the centre of a global search for a special “little blue cup”.
The Cramlington business got involved in the search for one of its products after Marc Carter, the father of autistic teenager Ben, issued an appeal on Twitter in a bid to track down some replacements.
Ben will only drink out of the two-handled blue cup, which has not been manufactured by Tommee Tippee for more than a decade – but his father’s plea went viral, receiving thousands of responses from as far away as the US, Brazil and Australia.
Tommee Tippee’s social media team has already been heavily involved, monitoring the myriad posts on Twitter and Facebook ever since and acting for the family by directing anyone who thinks they have the exact blue cup to contact them directly and arranging for them cups to be sent to the Carter family.
Now they have stepped up their help, by arranging for 500 of the cups to be made at the Northumberland facility, having tracked down the cup’s original mould at a factory in China.
The firm said: “Like people all over the world, we’ve been incredibly touched by Ben’s story, and wanted to do everything we could to help find the cups he loves.
“We asked our staff in offices across the world to look through archived product samples in case we had a case of them hidden in a cupboard or warehouse. Unfortunately we didn’t, as it’s almost 20 years since this style of cup was manufactured, so we looked into the possibility of creating a special production run for Ben.
“Starting the production of a cup that hasn’t been manufactured for almost two decades isn’t a straightforward process, but we’re thrilled to confirm that we’re able to do it.
“Production will start on 500 cups for Ben this week and will delivered to his dad, Marc, early in the New Year.
“We’re confident that this production run, combined with the cups that have been sent by truly amazing people from across the world, will make a real difference to Ben, and give him enough cups for the rest of his life.”
Ben’s father Marc has been overwhelmed by the response, and was shocked to hear the firm would be making the cups especially for Ben, having already forwarded on a number of cups other people had sourced from their cupboards.
He said: “I had a phone call from Tommee Tippee for an update and catch-up and thought it was to tell me how many cups were coming.
“But they told me they had found the mould to make Ben’s little blue cup. It was a shock, a surprise and bizzare that they managed to do it. They have been looking in China, scouring warehouses and factories and they found it.
“What I really don’t want is for all the amazing people who have been following this to now turn off – you have been incredible.
“Tommee Tippee said they would go away and leave me alone now, but I don’t want that, or for people who have been following this to leave me alone because we have started some interesting discussions.”