Founder of Norfolk charity receives MBE from Prince William

PUBLISHED: 10:47 17 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:47 17 November 2018

Marcella Olive-Ballestra,at Buckingham Palce with her MBE.Picture: Thecla Fellas

Marcella Olive-Ballestra,at Buckingham Palce with her MBE.Picture: Thecla Fellas


The founder of a Norfolk charity which was set up to support people diagnosed with Aspergers and high functioning autism has been awarded an MBE.

Marcella Olive-Ballestra set up Aspergers East Anglia in 1996 after her son was diagnosed with the condition and she realised there was very little support available for people affected by an Aspergers diagnoses.

Starting out as a support line for families operating from her own home, since it was set up the charity has developed into an organisation offering a range of support services including children and families groups, educational aid, adult support and social groups.

Attending Buckingham Palace to receive her medal from Prince William on October 31, Mrs Olive-Ballestra said it had been a fantastic day: “It was a once in a life time experience, I was so nervous but now I know what happens I know I didn’t need to be.

“Prince William makes you feel very at ease, he’s very approachable and a very nice person. He asked me about the charity and how it was started and that really put me at ease.”

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