National award and recognition for work of a laughter specialist
- 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.
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.
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.