A CAMPAIGNING Hillingdon woman has collected her Mum of the Year award at a star studded ceremony.
Anna Kennedy OBE got the Tesco Achieving Mum of the Year award on Sunday, in recognition of her commitment to family life and her tireless work to raise awareness of autism.
Mrs Kennedy, 52, was selected from thousands of nominations and received her prize from Olympic gymnast Louis Smith.
She said: “It’s so great to be recognised for this award, but for me the main thing from here is to use this award and recognition to raise even more awareness about autism.
“There is still a long way to go from here.”
In its eighth year, the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards, hosted by Fiona Phillips, was held at The Savoy hotel. Channel 5 will be televising the red carpet ceremony on Sunday – Mother’s Day.
It has been a busy 2013 for Anna, who recently appeared with dancing partner Michael French on Sky 1 talent show, Got To Dance.
She has successfully petitioned Hillingdon Council’s south area planning committee in support of her bid to get Hillingdon Manor School’s planning application for renovations approved.
Mrs Kennedy remortgaged her home in Hillingdon to raise funds to set up the special school in Harlington Road, Hillingdon, after struggling to find a suitable place for her two sons, Patrick and Angelo, who both suffer from autism spectrum disorders.
Hillingdon Manor was established in 1999 with 15 pupils, and now more than 150 autistic children attend, making it one of the largest specialist education facilities in Europe.
The former dance teacher has set up a second specialist school in Kent, and has an international following of 50,000 parents of autistic children through her website, Anna Kennedy Online.
She also organises fundraising events, including Autism’s Got Talent, which started last year at London’s Mermaid Theatre.