A NORTH-EAST mother has received an OBE for her work helping youngsters with autism.

Anna Kennedy, originally from Middlesbrough but now living in London, took the opportunity to recruit actress Kate Winslett to the cause during their recent big day at Buckingham Palace.

Mrs Kennedy, who one child with autism and another with Asperger’s Syndrome, became a national figure when she opened he own school for autistic children.

Mrs Kennedy, who has campaigned for better education for autistic children for nearly 20 years, has been invited to lunch by Oscar-winner Kate Winslet to talk about autism When she couldn't get school places for her two sons in 1999, she set up Hillingdon Manor School, a specialist primary for children with autistic spectrum disorders. Since then, she's won a number of awards and has written a book about her struggle to get a good education for her children.

She said: "I met Kate at buckingham Palace as she was receiving CBE and I an OBE. Kate was sat in row in front of me. She turned around smiled and said she had been looking for me because she wanted to talk autism asked me for my number.

“Kate is going to contact me in next few weeks. She has a fundraiser in America on Friday for Golden Hat foundation, a charity she has set up for autism, so it’s all for the good.”

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