Latimer's autism campaign sees Claude the Crab come home

Claude the Crab is coming home.

Tuesday, 28th August 2018, 9:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th August 2018, 9:56 am
Sophie finding a hiding place for one of her Claude models

Whitburn’s Latimer’s Seafood Deli & Cafe #RewardforClaude campaign has been raising awareness of autism in the workplace with the help of staff member Sophie Gray (pictured above), the inspirational teen with Asperger’s syndrome who hand-crafted dozens of ‘Claude the Crab’ clay models.

The models are hidden throughout the North East, with people encouraged to return them for a free dressed lobster and/or post their pictures on social media, with the best set to claim top prize a family meal for four at Latimer’s Seafood decided after the September 7 deadline.

So far, 12 lucky people have claimed their free lobster, with many more posting pictures of Claude on social media at the SAFC Fan Museum, the National Glass Centre, the Angel of North, while others have taken their Claudes as far afield as the French Alps, Holland and even Sydney Australia. On top of this the campaign has helped Sophie shape her future by giving her the confidence to win a place at the University of Sunderland to study glass and ceramics, spreading the word across the region for Autism and Autism related conditions in the workplace.

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Sophie said: “It’s been wonderful to be part of something that has helped raised awareness of people with autism and autism-related conditions such as Asperger’s syndrome,” she said.

“Ailsa and Robert Latimer put their faith in me when they employed me two years ago but also when they got me involved with the campaign by asking me to create the model Claudes as they were aware of my creative hobbies.

“I’ve taken a lot of confidence from their trust and from what I’ve learned working at Latimer’s Seafood; I was even asked about the campaign at my interview at the University of Sunderland as they had seen the campaign on social media and knew about the #RewardforClaude campaign which was obviously brilliant for me in an interview situation.

“But the most inspiring part has been the people with autism or an autism related condition that have reached out on social media to give me their support and goodwill and there have been many.”

Ailsa Latimer said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the progress of the #RewardforClaude campaign so far.

“Without doubt the most rewarding aspect of this campaign is the impact it’s had on Sophie.”