Prime Minister backs Autism Sunday service in Havering

TOP politicians and one of the Chilean miners have backed a campaign to help raise awareness of autism.

Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and shadow chancellor Ed Balls are among those supporting Autism Sunday on February 13.

A dedicated service to mark the day will be held in Havering for the first time, at St Alban’s Church, King’s Road, Romford.

Writing to the campaign’s founders Ivan and Charika Corea, whose son is autistic, Mr Cameron said: “I would like to express my support for Autism Sunday.

“As many as one in a hundred people could be affected by some form of autism, and it is important that we recognise and raise awareness of the difficulties and challenges that they can face.”

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Chilean miner Jose Henriquez was presented with an autism awareness ribbon by Mr Corea this month during a visit to Essex. He told Mr Corea: “‘All you parents with autistic children may feel at times that you are just like being down a mine.

“God gave me and my fellow miners a real hope and He wants to give that to you too.”

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Sunday’s service will be led by Father Roderick Hingley, vicar of St Alban’s, who will give a blessing to those with autism as well as their parents and carers.

The day has been organised with the help of the Frances Bardsley School for Girls, in Brentwood Road, Romford, and Romford Autistic Group Support (RAGS).

On the day children with autism will make banners featuring their artwork, which they will bring into the church as they take part in a procession.

Music will be provided by artists including Romford singer Helen Yousaf. Among those attending the event will be Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas.

Mr and Mrs Corea, who live in Woodford Green, set up the UK Autism Foundation in 2008. From there they founded Autism Sunday, which is now celebrated across the world and raises awareness of the condition.

The Autism Sunday service will start at 3pm. For more information visit

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