Teenager with autism makes 'Claude the crab' models to hide along coast as part of campaign with Latimer’s Seafood Deli and Cafe

A popular seafood restaurant is hoping its unique campaign to raise awareness of autism will go international.

Friday, 2nd August 2019, 9:05 am
Claude the crab models were hidden along the North East coastline to raise awareness of autism.

The models were designed by Sophie Gray, a 19-year old Latimer’s employee, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism, when she was 13.

Sophie, from Whitburn, has worked as a Latimer’s assistant for three years and battled to overcome her difficulties in social situations.

Robert and Ailsa Latimer in front of their restaurant Latimer’s Seafood, which is raising awareness of autism.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But now she is showing that having Asperger’s syndrome doesn’t mean a life with limits, and is now studying a glass ceramic degree at Sunderland University alongside her part-time role.

Last year she fronted Latimer’s #autismawareness campaign and following the success of its Claude the crab models, the campaign is now looking to expand to an international audience.

Supported by NHS Health Education England – the campaign has now launched a competition asking people to tell them why they think Claude the crab would like to go on holiday with them.

Selected entries will then be asked to share the summer fun with some holiday snaps of Claude abroad on social media using #rewardforclaude and #autismawareness.

Latimer's staff member Sophie Gray, who has autism, has designed the 50 clay crab models.

When they bring Claude home to Latimer’s they will be the winner of a lobster and the favourite post will win meal for four at Latimer’s.

Sophie said: “The understanding of my employers and co-workers has allowed me to hold down my part time job and study without the fear of work related anxiety affecting my grades.

“That’s why it’s so important to me to inspire others to feel empowered to follow their dreams by continuing to front the Latimer’s #autismawareness campaign.”

Ailsa, co-owner of Latimer’s Seafood, said: “All our staff are treated as individuals and we hope that we recognise that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and we’re all different.

“It’s how we at Latimer’s develop people; if you have the right attitude we’ll work with you to help you flourish.”

To enter the competition visit https://latimers.com/claude/