More than 70 people attended the event in the glorious setting of HestercombeGardens, near Taunton, for the official launch of ‘Somerset Chairman’s Charities’.
County dignitaries, business leaders, and County Council staff were amongst the first to hear Chairman Councillor David Fothergill speak of his aim to raise £50,000 over the next four years for his two chosen charities the National Autistic Society and Somerset Trust for Arts & Recreations (STAR).
President of the National Autistic Society, Jane Asher, captivated the audience as she spoke of the society’s important work both within Somerset and elsewhere and said the following day she would be visiting the county’s first specialist centre for adults with autism at Somerset Court in Burnham-on-Sea which opened in 1974.
She said: “I was so pleased to meet David in person as I was so delighted that he has chosen the National Autistic Society as one of his two chosen charities to support during his period in office.
“Autism isn’t an easy cause to raise money for and we really appreciate his generosity in not only raising money himself but encouraging others to do so.
“It has been a delightful evening at HestercombeGardens and it is great to see such enthusiasm for this initiative.”
Guests also heard about the vital role of STAR from Steve Clark who spoke about how it improved the lives of disadvantaged children and young people including those in Somerset’s County Council’s care. The charity funds simple pleasures such as trips to the seaside, Christmas parties and help with music and sports tuition which many other children take for granted.
He said: “We are really pleased that David has chosen STAR to support over his time as Chairman.
“This is such a huge opportunity for a small local charity like us not just in terms of much needed funds, but also in raising awareness with Somerset of what we do.
“We look forward to working with David, his team and the National Autistic Society over the coming years.”
To donate to the Somerset Chairman’s Charities, please click on www.justgiving.com/company/SomersetCountyCouncil.