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Thameslink colleagues bring in the dough for Bedfordshire autism charity

Press release   •   Aug 16, 2019 12:16 BST

A bake sale at Bedford train station generated hundreds of pounds for Autism Bedfordshire. See below for an additional photo.

Thameslink colleagues used flour power to support an independent Bedford-based charity close to their hearts.

Bedford station staff, with help from family and friends, held a mammoth bake sale on Thursday morning (15 August) in aid of Autism Bedfordshire.

The delectable offerings, including brownies, muffins, lemon drizzle cakes, cookies and sausage rolls, raised £520 for the charity.

Organisers of the bake sale - Station Manager, Bernadette Lee and Station Team Leader, Natasha Hodges - chose to support Autism Bedfordshire because their loved ones are affected by autism.

Natasha’s husband was diagnosed with autism last year at the age of 44. Team Leader Natasha, who lives in Flitwick, said: “He had an inkling he may have it. It’s just nice to know he’s been diagnosed and to understand that certain things have happened for certain reasons, for example why he is very shy around new people. It’s good to have answers.”

Bedford to Harlington Station Manager Bernadette praised Autism Bedfordshire for the invaluable support given to her son Robert, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of four and is now 26. Robert enjoys a variety of activities organised by the charity, including walking and art clubs. He loves working at a farm and coffee shop thanks to support from Autism Bedfordshire.

Bernadette, who lives in Bedford, said: “It’s stimulating - it’s social interaction. It takes them out of themselves, otherwise they would be at home and not able to integrate into society. This is the lifeline that Autism Bedfordshire gives to its members. He’s a busy boy, and it helps me because I work full-time. It takes the pressure off me, otherwise I would worry about whether he is OK.”

Bernadette added: “The bake sale was a roaring success!”

As well as fundraising, Thameslink colleagues have also supported Autism Bedfordshire in the past by taking members on Try a Train days. The aim of these days out is to boost confidence when it comes to making a journey by train, from buying a ticket to finding the right platform and getting on the train.

Autism Bedfordshire’s Sarah Grimes, of Corporate and Community Fundraising, said: “Thank you to everyone who bought a cake or simply donated. We really value your kindness and generosity. Engaging our local communities and educating the public about autism is so important to us and it’s great to have the support of local, and national businesses. Some of the cake sellers are service users of ours and we’re really touched that they took time out of their own busy lives to do something for us.”

It costs Autism Bedfordshire £620,000 a year to provide all its services. About 1,500 families and individuals are supported by the charity.

For more information about Autism Bedfordshire, visit https://www.autismbedfordshire.net/

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

www.southernrailway.com, www.thameslinkrailway.com, www.gatwickexpress.com, www.greatnorthernrail.com