THE founder of Worcester’s first support group for Asperger’s sufferers has died at the age of 38.

Sarah Micklewright founded and was chairman of ASPIE, a social group for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome and their families, having been diagnosed with the condition in her early 20s.

Miss Micklewright was admitted to Worcestershire Royal Hospital early last month with an infection but lost her battle against it and died unexpectedly on Thursday, April 24.

Her mother, Julia Micklewright, said the infection had weakened her so much that despite her best efforts she was unable to fight it any more. “Sarah had been most unwell and in a weakened state for some considerable time,” she said.

Despite having completed a law degree, trained as an accountant and joined MENSA all before she was diagnosed with Asperger’s, Miss Micklewright regarded the charity, based in Sansome Walk, Worcester, as her most worthwhile achievement.

It celebrated its second birthday in September and to avoid causing disruption for fellow Asperger’s sufferers was open to visitors as usual on Saturday, April 26.

“The laid-back atmosphere of the charity disguises the careful thought and planning that has gone in to provide exactly what Asperger adults enjoy, and ASPIE has become a special place where members with a wide age range and from all walks of life can meet other adults with the condition, share experiences and find friendship and a feeling of belonging which many of them have never known before,” said Julia.

Julia, resident psychologist Bill Say and board members Linda and Mike Callander will carry on running ASPIE to ensure Miss Micklewright’s legacy lives on and it will be open as usual on Wednesdays and Saturdays offering continued support for Asperger’s sufferers and those yet to be diagnosed.

The funeral service will be held on Monday, May 12, at Worcester Crematorium, in Tintern Avenue, Worcester, at 10.45am, followed by a wake at ASPIE’s headquarters at noon. It is requested that flowers are not given but instead a donation be made to ASPIE.