AN AUTISM campaigner was ambushed by live television and presented with an award.
Anna Kennedy, who founded Hillingdon Manor School for children with autism or Asperger’s syndrome, thought she was meeting a journalist from the New York Times at her office at 7am on Thursday last week.
Instead she was thrust in front of cameras filming ITV1’s Daybreak breakfast show.
Mrs Kennedy was presented ‘live’ with an award by Dr Hilary Jones, who has been surprising ‘exceptional health professionals’ from around the UK.
She told the Gazette afterwards: “I was told to meet someone at 7am because they had to get an early flight, but they burst into the room to give me this award.
“They had been planning to surprise me for three weeks.
“Quite a lot of people had nominated me for this award, even my PA was in on it.
“To see so many of your friends, about 60 or 70 people, who had got up that early in the morning to surprise me – I was a bit overwhelmed.”
Mrs Kennedy, whose two sons are autistic, remortgaged her house and used life savings to transform a derelict building into Hillingdon Manor School.
She is now a well-known campaigner and also runs her own website offering advice to other parents. Her prize is a weekend away at Champneys Luxury Spa in Surrey.
Mrs Kennedy added: “Even some of my pupils with autism at the school said they recognised me on TV.”