Autistic boy, 11, pens heartwarming letter to Anne Hegerty after I'm A Celeb star opened up about Asperger's
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Autistic boy, 11, pens heartwarming letter to Anne Hegerty after I'm A Celeb star opened up about Asperger's

This is lovely.

A touching letter written by a schoolboy to I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! contestant Anne Hegerty about their shared experience of autism has gone viral.

Hegerty, 60, who came to prominence as one of the 'Chasers' on the ITV game show The Chase, revealed she was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome in 2007 before entering the jungle and has spoken of her difficulty coping since the show began at the weekend.

Her experience struck a chord with one young man in particular – 11-year-old Joseph Hughes, from Preston, who was diagnosed with autism six years ago.

In an open letter shared on Twitter, Joseph told Hegerty she was an inspiration to him for opening up about her Asperger's on the show and said he hoped she would win.

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He wrote: "To Anne, My name is Joseph Hughes and I am 11. I live in Preston, Lancashire, and I go to a specialist school. I was diagnosed with Autism when I was 5. I like to watch you on The Chase and now I've been watching you in the jungle.

"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.

"Sometimes 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. Do you like Thunderbirds? I love them my favourite is Thunderbirds 2. I have drawn you a picture I hope you like it.

"Good luck in the jungle I hope you win. Love from Joseph."

Joseph's letter has received over 3,000 likes since it was shared on Twitter by last year's Queen of the Jungle, Georgia 'Toff' Toffolo.

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Today, the schoolboy's mum Kate Jarvis filmed her son's reaction as she told him his letter had gone viral.

She also said that the team behind Thunderbirds had been in touch offering to send a gift to Joseph, who replied that he was "really excited".

During the first day of I'm A Celebrity on Sunday, a clearly upset Hegerty said she was "really, really close to saying I can’t do this", and on last night’s programme she talked in more detail about her condition with former EastEnders actress Rita Simons.

After Hegerty's 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."