National award and recognition for work of a laughter specialist

Composite image: Left - two people smile with an award, Right - Annie Aris with Gary Lineker at The Roundhouse, Camden

Left: Annie Aris and Karen Shears from The Laughter Specialists, a Saffron Walden-based company which supports vulnerable children; Right: Annie Aris with Gary Lineker at The Sun Who Cares Wins award - Credit: Supplied

A Saffron Walden woman has received a trophy for the work she does and its positive impact in the community through making children laugh.

Annie Aris of The Laughter Specialists won The National Lottery's Local Health Award at The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards in London.

Annie Aris at the The Sun Who Cares Wins awards in Camden, sponsored by The National Lottery and Channel 4

Annie Aris from the Laughter Specialists with her National Lottery’s Local Health Hero award - Credit: Supplied by Annie Aris

Two women - Annie Aris and Karen Shears - smile holding their The Sun Who Cares Wins award at The Roundhouse, Camden

Annie Aris with Karen Shears with their Who Cares Wins award - Credit: Supplied by Annie Aris

The award was presented by Kadeena Cox, a Paralympic medal winner who has been competing in Celebrity MasterChef.

The audience also saw a short film about The Laughter Specialists and the work they do.

The ceremony, hosted by Davina McCall, was broadcast on Channel 4 on Sunday (September 19). It can be watched again on catch up services.

Stars including David Beckham, Gary Lineker and Rod Stewart had time to chat at the event.

Annie Aris talks to David Beckham at The Sun Who Cares Wins awards at The Roundhouse in Camden

Annie Aris with David Beckham at The Sun Who Cares Wins awards - Credit: Supplied by Annie Aris

Annie Aris in a red dress next to Gary Lineker at The Sun Who Cares Wins awards in Camden

Annie Aris from The Laughter Specialists with Gary Lineker - Credit: Supplied by Annie Aris

Rod Stewart and Ulrika Jonsson either side of Annie Aris from Saffron Walden at The Sun Who Cares Wins awards in Camden

Rod Stewart and Ulrika Jonsson with Annie Aris from The Laughter Specialists at the The Sun Who Cares Wins awards - Credit: Supplied by Annie Aris

Three people - Annie Aris, Karen Shears and Nigel Railton, Camelot CEO - smile at the camera in The Roundhouse, Camden

Annie, Karen and Nigel Railton, Camelot CEO - Credit: Supplied by Annie Aris

The Laughter Specialists is a charity that supports vulnerable children and their families by raising a smile through laughter and fun in schools, hospices and hospitals - such as Broomfield and Addenbrooke's.


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During the pandemic, they have been working via Zoom and outdoors to continue to reach clients, to make them laugh and allow them to make progress in other areas of their lives.

Annie said of winning: "I'm so chuffed, I really am!"

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She said that more than ever, it was important that children with additional needs or medical needs got the chance to laugh.

"Getting them to laugh is giving them the best medicine, confidence to take their medicine, to walk, to talk or whatever else, it's using the platform of laughter, we have opened up massive doors for children with disabilities and sick kids and from the mental health side of it and wellbeing, it's proven that it's really working."

Annie has recently been talking to GPs and doctors on Zoom about how to use laughter to communicate with patients.


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