Read time:4 minute, 30 seconds

Anna Kennedy is back with another spectacular event. The Autism’s Hero Awards 2023 was luxurious, heart-warming and joyous to say the least.

The awards show took place at the Cumberland Hotel in London on the 25th of November. As if the Autism’s Got Talent show wasn’t incredible enough, Anna and her team managed to exceed our expectations by celebrating her people on a grander scale.

Anna Kennedy, Kaydi Scottsville, a member of the Pineapple Performing Arts and Maggie Patterson. Photo by Terry

The Autism Hero Awards 2023 was a wrap-up of the year event to highlight some of the biggest contributors to the cause. Hosted by none other than Anna herself with her long time friend, Phil Barnett.

We were seated in the hotel’s lavish banquet hall, with poshly decorated tables to feast on our delicious three-course meal while we enjoyed the show.

The room was packed with Anna’s biggest supporters and friends over the years and families of the nominees.

Some of the supporters and sponsors being Samantha Lee Howe, Wendy Turner, Vanessa D’Souza, Jo Luck, Iryna Stewart, Dion Brown, David Grant and Steven Smith.

Presenter and judge, Samantha Lee Howe with husband David Howe

And they all came together to empower Anna’s mission, to cheer on the beautiful autistic warriors of her community. To remind us that we all are the same and we should be free to express ourself however we wish to.

We were also graced with performances by the Pinapple Performing Arts group and serenaded by the exquisite Marie Gorton and Liam Burgess.

Each of the winners had an inspirational speech that really moved all of us in the audience. They were dressed gloriously for the event, wore their heart on their sleeves, and had the most radiant smile on their faces.

However, there was a particular moment that brought tears to my eyes. Cory Chapman, a 12 year old racer who took part in a National Championship for 4 seasons now, won the award for Personal Achievement.

He has autism, severe ADHD and Global Development Delay, he was non-verbal until the age of 5 but now speaks fluently. He met with a tragic accident in April 2021 but he didn’t give up. His willpower helped him recover quickly and made him get back in the kart 2 weeks later, and he won his first race back in the seat.

As he was called on to the stage to receive the award for his , his father jumped with excitement. He then kneeled down to take a video of Cory by our table. I noticed his father crying as he recorded the video, feeling so proud of his son. It was like their whole journey unfolded before my eyes.

We all couldn’t help but break a tear or two for them as well, it was powerful and pure. It cemented the whole purpose of initiatives like Anna’s charity or anyone who creates a safe space to showcase all kinds of talent. To constantly break the mental conditioning people have around neurodivergence.

Cory Chapman at the Autism Hero Awards 2023. Photo by Terry Scott

This awards show highlighted so many individuals who work hard to support the cause and reinvent their identity. Everyone present that day, was a contributor to that change and the awards were simply a token of recognition to few, but the entire event was a victory for all.

Cory said it better in his speech when he said that while he’s grateful for the award, for those who didn’t win, it’s the participation that counts. That awards don’t matter, the willingness to act does.

And with these wise words from a 12-year old hero, he truly summed up the evening’s purpose, Anna’s purpose and stole our hearts and filled us with hope.

Here’s a list of all of the winners of the Autism Hero Awards 2023:

Special Recognition Award

Winner – Pamela Aculey

Charity Supporters of the Year Award

Winner – Aston Avery and Ethan Khumsy

Winner Aston Avery with proud parents Dawn Avery and Keith Avery. Photo by Terry Scott

Sibling of the Year
Sponsored by Mood bears
Winner – Oliver Stiel

Creative Arts & Media Award
Sponsored by Sara Eden Introductions
Winner – Dez Loveartpix

Young Person of the Year Award
Sponsored by Pineapple Performing Arts School
Winner – Kaydi Scottsville

Personal Achievement Award
Sponsored by Talem Law
Winner – Cory Chapman

Outstanding Community Award
Sponsored by Born Anxious
Winner – Jade Cook Online

Social Network Award
Sponsored by Beauchamp Foot Care
Winner – Pines Team Highland

The Lifetime Award
Sponsored by LEES
Winner – James Punch

Parent/Carer of the Year Award
Sponsored by M A Strum
Winner – Dan Harris

Vanessa D’Souza, Anna Kennedy, James Punch and Maggie Patterson. Photo by Terry Scott

Support group of the Year Award
Sponsored by Anna Kennedy Online
Winner – Axia-ASD Post Diagnostic Support Group

Leading Business of the Year Award
Sponsored by UK Pet Food
Winner – Lee Chambers

Outstanding Education of the Year Award
Sponsored by Autism Reality Bus
Winner – Rob Patterson

People’s Hero Award

Sponsored by Top Lips
Winner – Sylvia Mochabo

Anna Kennedy, Iryna Stewart and Sylvia Mochabo. Photo by Terry Scott

It was an evening of achievements, love and happiness. Anna and her team continue to support their community and are ready to get the ball rolling for Autism’s Got Talent 2024.

CLICK HERE for more information on how you can support, participate or audition.

And stay tuned for more updates on their events on OutNewsGlobal.

About the author

Adishri Chengappa

Writer and Journalist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest articles