Skip to content
Station Manager and keen fundraiser, Bernie Lee, with her son
Station Manager and keen fundraiser, Bernie Lee, with her son

Press release -

Thameslink staff embrace the outdoors in support of local charity

Letting nothing stand in their way, determined staff from across the Thameslink network joined forces to run, walk, jog and cycle throughout the month of June to raise money for Autism Bedfordshire.

Hailed ‘Challenge 50,’ each fundraiser had to complete 50 kilometres of their chosen form of exercise. With usual community events on hold due to the pandemic, Bernie Lee – station manager for Bedford, Flitwick and Harlington – thought it was more important than ever to raise awareness and vital funds for the charity and is thrilled that the team have beaten their £1,000 target.

She comments: “I’m a huge supporter of Autism Bedfordshire and I wanted to help them at a time when their services will be relied upon more than ever. I spread the word to colleagues and friends as well as posting on community Facebook groups to get as many people involved as I could. It was great fun and good exercise for us all and I’m really proud of the amount we’ve managed to raise.”

Adult Services Manager at Autism Bedfordshire, Sharna Raine, said: “This is a hugely difficult time for autistic people and their families and carers. Normal routine has gone out the window and that can cause real issues for those with special needs. We’ve really felt the impact of the pandemic, so we are hugely grateful to Bernie and her team for getting out there and raising awareness of Autism Bedfordshire on our behalf. I can’t thank everyone involved enough for their time and dedication.”

Earlier this year, the operator announced that Autism Bedfordshire had become an official station partner of Luton Airport Parkway. Community Engagement Officer for Govia Thameslink Railway, Andrew Chillingsworth, added: “This is part of an ongoing relationship between ourselves and the charity and we’re pleased that we can continue to offer support in these difficult times.”

Autism Bedfordshire’s services help break down the barriers to social participation for autistic people and their families by providing places where they can go and feel comfortable, accepted, and not judged by society. The fundraising team for ‘Challenge 50’ have met their £1,000 target but there is still time to donate to the cause by visiting:

Note to editors

Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, Autism Bedfordshire has achieved the following:

  • Answered 356 helpline calls to support adults in crisis
  • Hosted 54 adult skills sessions
  • Supported 102 adult social groups
  • Facilitated 155 employment 121 support sessions
  • Hosted 8 employment webinars

27% of individuals who access Autism Bedfordshire’s services are aged over 35.

In 2019, Autism Bedfordshire achieved the following:

  • 182 members supported across the charity’s services
  • 6,509 hours of support delivered
  • 39 members supported into paid employment
  • 32 supported into structured volunteering and training

For more information about Autism Bedfordshire, visit

For more information about Community Rail Partnerships, visit

To follow all the Community Rail Partnership activities taking place on the Bedford to St Albans City line, you can follow Bedford to St Albans City Community Rail Partnership on Facebook.



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

Related content

Govia Thameslink Railway
United Kingdom