Mum scoops exclusive photo session with John Swannell

A full-time mum from Wales has won an exclusive photo shoot for her family with Official Diamond Jubilee photographer John Swannell, after coming first place in the National Autistic Society’s 50th birthday photography competition. Melanie Garside, 37, beat 500 other entrants in the charity’s friendship-themed competition with a photograph of Dewi, her seven-year-old son. The picture shows Dewi, who has autism, dancing with his own shadow on the beach. She said: “Friendships can be hard for many people with autism. What amazes me is Dewi’s ability to do what so many others in the world can find so difficult, the ability to find a friend in himself, which is what this picture is all about. “I’m chuffed to bits that we won the competition, I wasn’t expecting it at all and we’re really excited about the photo session with John Swannell. I know that he’s photographed the Queen and some of the top celebs so it’s going to be amazing to have the family photographed by someone of his calibre.”John Swannell led the judging panel for the competition alongside Hilary Alexander, British fashion industry legend, Kayte Brimacombe, acclaimed photojournalist, and photographer Jay Blue.On the winning photograph, John said: “This photo is a true expression of joy, and this one boy’s contentment alongside his friend, his shadow, is just beautiful.”John is a long-time supporter of the National Autistic Society. Over the last year, John and his wife Marianne have raised more than £35,000 in aid of the Transforming Lives Project, a collaboration with the NAS to help support young adults as they move from childhood into adulthood. A recent survey by The National Autistic Society NAS published to mark the 50th birthday of the charity indicates that more than 60 per cent of children with autism have been bullied in school and more than 20 per cent say they have no friends. More than half of the children said they wanted to have more friends than they do. The survey also found that a quarter of all adults with autism 24% have no friends and 82% of adults say there are days when they dont talk to anyone outside of their home.

via Mum scoops exclusive photo session with John Swannell.

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