TWO Dorset residents are playing their part in an effort to make an Australian boy with Asperger syndrome a world record holder.

Michael Wilson and Bethany Emerton are supporting Jacob's 16th Birthday Keyring Quest.

The challenge of collecting more than 62,000 keyrings and breaking the existing record was set up by Lorraine Mackay for her son Jacob, who collects keyrings.

Lorraine, who lives in Queensland, Australia, initially thought just friends and family would support his collection, however, through the power of social media, the appeal has gone global with more than 3,800 members in the quest's Facebook group.

This includes Michael, of Branksome, and Bethany, of Ensbury Park, who are set to send their keyrings contribution to the other side of the world.

Michael, aged 28, said: "I went to Australia travelling and I have a few friends out there still. One of them shared Lorraine's request to support her son who has Asperger's. His one massive hobby is collecting keyrings.

"It is not on a small scale anymore and people are sending keyrings.

"I just wanted to do my bit and also share it on so hopefully more people get involved.

"At the moment, when it has been tough for a lot of people, this is a nice example of how humanity can pull together to do something really nice and social media can be used in a good way."

Lorraine, who is gathering the keyrings ahead of Jacob's birthday in September, told the Daily Echo: "I am truly overwhelmed with the amazing support from everyone.

"It all started because Jacob said one day 'it would be pretty cool to one day maybe break the record, only 62200 to go' as we laughed.

"I didn’t think much more of it till a few weeks later when I thought this would be a good surprise for him for his 16th Birthday.

"The original post has now been shared more than 7,000 times.

"I have been contacted by people from all over the world wanting to be a part of it and send him some key rings."

To find out more about Lorraine's appeal, search Jacob’s 16th Birthday keyring quest on Facebook.

Keyrings can be posted directly to Jacob Mackay, P.O. Box 1675, Southport, 4215 Qld, Australia.