I'm A Celeb: Autistic boy's heartfelt letter to Anne Hegerty goes viral

Anne Hegerty

Anne Hegerty on ITV show I'm A Celebrity. Image: ITV

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A schoolboy's heartfelt letter to I'm A Celebrity contestant Anne Hegerty about their shared experience of autism has received thousands of shares online.

Joseph Hughes, 11, from Preston, was diagnosed with autism at the age of five, and penned a letter to Ms Hegerty about how she had inspired him to be more confident.

Joseph's mother Kate Jarvis, 31, said Joseph was "amazed" to see Ms Hegerty, who is a regular on ITV gameshow, The Chase, enter the jungle.

"He sees his autism quite negatively sometimes, so was pleased to see someone with autism doing something like that for a job," she told the Press Association.


The letter

In the letter to Ms Hegerty, who has spoken of her difficulty coping since entering the jungle this weekend, Joseph wrote: "I think you are very brave for going in the jungle, I couldn't go there because there are too many bugs.

"You are very clever," he added, before saying: "Some people are mean to me because I am autistic but watching you makes me see that other people can have autism too and maybe I can have a cool job like you when I am older."

The condition can affect a person's social interactions, communication, interests and behaviour, according to the NHS.

On the show's first day on Sunday, a clearly upset Hegerty said she was "really, really close to saying I can't do this", and on Monday night's programme she talked in more detail about the condition with former EastEnders actress Rita Simons.

After her campmates offered her their support, the National Autistic society tweeted: "Lovely to see everyone supporting each other. We are backing @anne_hegerty all the way on her #imaceleb journey."