Toby Henderson Trust boss pleads guilty to drink driving charge

THE FOUNDER of a leading autism charity has admitted driving while three times over the limit.

Toby Henderson Trust founder Lesley Henderson
Toby Henderson Trust founder Lesley Henderson

THE FOUNDER of a leading autism charity has admitted driving while three times over the limit.

Lesley Henderson, who set up the Northumberland-based Toby Henderson Trust, appeared before Bedlington Magistrates Court yesterday.

The court heard on Friday, April 26, the 55-year-old drove a Vauxhall Astra on the A192 when she was stopped by police.

A breath test showed a reading of 108mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, more than three times the legal limit of 35mg. Mrs Henderson, 55, of Mile Road, Widdrington, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to the charge. Sentence was adjourned to a later date.

After the hearing magistrates issued an interim driving ban.

After the case, Mrs Henderson said: “I pleaded guilty because I am guilty. Recently has been a traumatic time in my life but I don’t want to publicly discuss that.

“It’s a terrible shame that one act of madness will probably detract from my main focus, which has always been the charity.”

Since it opened in 2001 the Toby Henderson Trust has provided vital help and support for hundreds of families of children and young people with autism from its base at The Old Barn at Whitehouse Farm near Morpeth.

Mrs Henderson named the charity after her autistic son Toby, now 19 and since then it has become a nationally-recognised resource for families and professionals, helping hundreds each year with advice on everything from filling in Disability Living Allowance forms to speech and language therapy and hair-cutting techniques.

The mother-of-four was recognised for her selfless work by being named Inspirational Woman of the Year in 2007, the year after winning our sister paper the Sunday Sun’s Champion in the Community award.

The trust works with families across the North East and offers them heavily-subsidised short breaks at its own eight-berth caravan at Cresswell Towers Holiday Park.

The case was adjourned for sentence until May 24.

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