West Ham United celebrated the sixth annual World Autism Awareness Day on Tuesday, together with autism organisations and charities around the world, .
Meet Anna Kennedy, 52, from Uxbridge. This remarkable woman remortgaged her own house so she could set up a school for autistic children after her two autistic sons were turned away from mainstream education. She has now expanded support for those with autism to include two schools, a college, a respite home and a website with over 60,000 international social media followers.
"Mums all over the world contact me, from America, Canada and even Japan and I'm interested to learn how different countries respond to autism," said Anna.
"We support lots of families in and around Upton Park and we've been into the local schools to give educational talks to raise awareness of bullying."
The award-winning autism champion, who has several fanatic Hammers supporters within her team, is the driving force behind the largest facility in Europe for educating and supporting people of all ages with autism as the Director of Hillingdon Manor School in London.
Hammers Joint-Chairman David Sullivan, who owned the lease on the Yiewsley Grange site, agreed to lease the property to Hillingdon Manor School to allow for much-needed expansion.
The co-owner of the Hammers even celebrated the club's promotion back to the Premier League with the generous donation to Anna Kennedy's charity projects.
Speaking in May last year, Mr Sullivan said, "West Ham United is more than just a football club. Since 1895 we have been rooted in the community and working hard for the benefit of London.
"We support many charities and in particular those who work tirelessly to help children.
"I have known Anna for some time and the passion she has for her work to help those with autism is clear to see. So I am delighted to share the success of our wonderful club with her by personally donating a five figure sum to this most deserving cause."
Mr Sullivan's donation has even allowed the school to purchase unique nature trail outdoor play equipment and see the return of an exciting event to celebrate young performers with autism.
Last year Anna launched the first ever performance of Autism's Got Talent, staged to a packed house at the Mermaid Theatre and attended by the likes of Esther Rantzan, singer song writer Lynsey De Paul, the voice of Britain's Got Talent Peter Dickinson and Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.
Now, after the approval of none other than Simon Cowell, Autism's Got Talent is set to take to the stage again on Saturday 11 May. Supported by Pineapple Dance Studios the show brings together a diverse group of very talented young people who are on the Autistic Spectrum, for an enjoyable evening of entertainment and awareness.
Tickets are available now by calling 01895 619734, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also look out for Anna and her team who be will running a bucket collection at the Boleyn Ground on 20 April for the game against Wigan Athletic..
To find out more about Anna Kennedy's work and how you can learn more about children and adults with autism visit, www.annakennedyonline.com