Jan 22 2013 By Jack Griffith
UXBRIDGE autism champion Anna Kennedy has been named a Tesco mum of the year.
Mrs Kennedy, 52, will collect the Achieving Mum of the Year award in recognition of her commitment to family life, and her tireless work to raise awareness about autism.
She was selected from thousands of nominations, and on winning the award, Anna said: "I was gobsmacked. I feel so happy and humbled to be a winner."
She will be presented with the accolade at a red-carpet celebrity bash at the Savoy hotel in March, honouring inspirational mums from around the country.
Paul Morris, Tesco's customer communications director, said: "It is a privilege to be able to recognise the achievements of an amazing woman and mum like Anna.
"Her single-handed determination to help families living with autism is truly inspirational. The fact that she has achieved what she has whilst being a full time carer to her two sons is further testament to what an incredible winner she is."
Mrs Kennedy re-mortgaged her home and raise the funds to set up a special school after struggling to find a suitable school for her two sons, Patrick and Angelo, who both suffer from autism spectrum disorders.
Hillingdon Manor, established in 1999, started off 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 gone on to set up a second specialist school in Kent, and now has an international following of 50,000 parents of autistic children through her website, Anna Kennedy Online.
Anna also organises a number of charity fundraising events, including Autism’s Got Talent, which premiered last year at London’s Mermaid Theatre.
Read about Anna's appearance on Sky 1 talent show Got To Dance in this week's Gazette, out tomorrow (Wednesday)