Taking place during London Fashion Week, this was a chance for some amazing people to be pampered and to 'work' the catwalk for once in their lives, as their trials and tribulations in the world of autism were recognised and rewarded. Mums, dads, siblings, children living with autism themselves and even Grandparents were all given makeovers to help them take the time to feel special about themselves. Then they were invited to 'strut their stuff' in front of a rather large audience!! They all did a super job.
Anna Kennedy is a very special lady; a mum in a million who was awarded an OBE for her services to special needs and autism. Anna set up two specialist schools for children with autism after her own two autistic sons were turned away from mainstream education, she raises awareness for autism constantly through events such as this and Autism's Got Talent, has written a book on autism, made a dance DVD for autism and was voted Tesco's Achieving Mum Of The Year 2013. Is there anything this lady can't do?! She was in person everything that I expected her to be and more - a fireball of energy with a hugely engaging positive attitude (and some very sexy dance moves!). I so admire people who push for something special in life, despite facing struggles most will never know or understand.
Back to the event itself - I'm a bit ashamed of my lack of photographic skills on this occasion, but I'll include some pics anyway to give you a flavour of the evening:
I had a front row seat, right opposite some lovely celebrities who gave up their time to help introduce the slightly nervous participants - Joe Swash, charming as ever, Dr Pam Spurr, Melanie Masson (X-Factor), Ben Duncan (Big Brother) and Jason Leech (The Apprentice) amongst others. Jason's words really rang true and brought a tear to the eye when he described a Young Carer as a shining star and a role model, and he promised that reading how selfless she is would make him go away and change his own life for the better. Compere for the evening was a very funny man who also dedicates his life to helping others with autism, Austin Hughes.
There was another lady who shone for me on the night; the very beautiful Olley Edwards. She is an actress and author of the book 'Why Aren't Normal People Normal?', and also mum to two girls with autism. As mum to a girl with autism myself, I knew her words would make me feel emotional, and of course they did. She showed us all a clip of a film which she has been working on, which I can hopefully tell you more about in the future. It includes actors with autism, and Olley was rightly very proud of this fact, considering she had been told she could never make it work - it did, of course!
We were treated to some very energetic dancing displays from the Pineapple Performing Arts School and the amazing Marie Gorton and Kitty Brucknell entertained us with their powerful voices. A very talented young man, James Mason, sang us an original song he had penned himself - so good that I'm including a clip of it for you here:
Please help me to spread #autismawareness by sharing this post on Facebook, Tweeting, Google +ing, any way of getting the word out there that you know of! London Fashion Week is so big but I really think we should be celebrating an Autism Fashion week and these kind of amazing achievements.
I was so excited when I found out I had won tickets to see this event via Jane who blogs at Ethan's Escapades, and even more pleased when I managed to arrange to bring along someone whose blog I've recently enjoyed reading a lot - Orli from Orli, Just Breathe. I have a lot in common with both these lovely ladies and it was great to meet them in person - I love it when blogging crosses over into Real Life!! Not sure how I missed getting a pic with Jane in, but here's Orli and me at the end of this fabulous event (a rare night out for both of us!):
I've decided to join up with the Magic Moments Linky this week, as this was definitely a special occasion!