Doctor Who: Birmingham convention helps organise birthday for autistic fan

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The Not Another Comic Con Birmingham convention team have volunteered to help surprise a young girl with autism with a Doctor Who-themed birthday.

Izobel Howell, 15, of Chelmsley Wood, is on the autistic spectrum, and has struggled recently with anxiety stemming from the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions placed on Birmingham. Her mother, Rebecca Howell, wants to make her upcoming 16th birthday “as special as possible”.

“She’s been an avid Doctor Who fan since she was two,” Rebecca says.

Izobel Howell, pictured at a young age

Since being contacted by a friend of the Howell family, the NACC team, headed by Peter Burke, have put out a general call for local cosplayers who could dress up as various incarnations of the time-travelling main character or as companions.

Several cosplayers from Birmingham and further away have responded, pledging to dress up and help Izobel celebrate her birthday.

“We’ve had people show interest,” Peter Burke says, “And hopefully we can generate more in the coming days.” 

Following lockdown restrictions, the event may consist of a mixture of socially-distanced visits from cosplayers, video calls, and pre-recorded video messages from cosplayers in-character.

Izobel and her mother hadn’t even heard of Not Another Comic Con before Peter got in touch and offered to help.

“I’m so very happy now to have been made aware of them.” Rebecca says.

She says that she has “shed a few happy tears” over the kindness shown by the NACC team and the cosplayers who have agreed to help her “put a big smile on [Izobel’s] face.”

Izobel, pictured with a cardboard cutout of David Tennant

Of particular interest to them is a cosplayer who can play the Tenth incarnation of the character, portrayed by David Tennant, who is described as Izobel’s “favourite”. So far, at least one cosplayer has been able to oblige with a video message.

The NACC team are encouraging anyone else who cosplays any characters from the show to contact them on Facebook or Twitter about helping Izobel.

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