In 1997, following my daughter’s Asperger diagnosis at the Maudsley, I found that none of the services they recommended existed in Essex, so I founded SAFE to provide a place where families could meet and discuss the issues which concerned them and their children.
SAFE became a charity in 2002 and I was elected Chair. In 2010 I was elected Lifetime President. Apart from running ASAP (Asperger Syndrome Adults and Parents), I now concentrate on advocacy and campaigning for our Asperger community, as well as talking at conferences and seminars, raising awareness of this most enigmatic autistic condition. With our help, and the support of parents, I have seen the progress many of our Aspies have made over time, and I am proud to be associated with SAFE, having seen it grow from a small ‘comfort group’ into the respected charity it now is.
My background includes 20 years in farming and 20 years as a Baptist minister. I became involved with SAFE when my son, Sam, received a diagnosis of Aspergers while in senior school, and my wife Jane has been actively involved with SAFE South for a number of years.
I hope to bring a degree of encouragement and support to the group.
I have a son with Asperger syndrome and sit on the SAFE South Committee. I am heavily involved in SAFE Stuff on a Saturday morning.
I work in London as an Advertising Manager, selling space and sponsorship online, offline in magazines and on TV. Before this I was a financial adviser for 12 years.
I also manage to drag my aching limbs round the football pitch once a week and also still play cricket. I have been an Executive member of SAFE since 2007.
Fern is originally from Essex, New Jersey, and started her professional life as a dancer. After graduating from Rutgers University where she studied Dance and Education, she moved to New York City to continue her professional dance activities whilst supporting her career doing various jobs including working as a researcher for National Opinion Research Center (part of University of Chicago). From starting as an interviewer, she progressed to middle management in charge of multi-million dollar projects and large staff teams. After five years, she decided to re-focus on her dancing career which including overseas touring and teaching. This is where she met and married Clive, and moved to England – first working as a peripatetic teacher and teacher trainer in dance at numerous schools in Essex, before becoming Director of Essexdance (the county agency for dance development). She currently works as Director of Development for New English Ballet Theatre and has been active in the field of arts fundraising and development over the past 15 years. She is also a regular lecturer for City University London’s MA Arts Management programme and a freelance trainer.
I have been on the SAFE executive since 2021, having received support from SAFE when our son was first diagnosed 20 years ago.
I am proud of the wide range of services and activities that SAFE provides to its members, for the support supplied to families and for the advocacy work done to raise awareness and help meet the needs of people with Asperger’s.
I am an in-house lawyer. I enjoy the outdoors, travelling and exploring other cultures.