ONCE, twice, three times a winner...William James became the third recipient of a Jack Petchey award, following in the footsteps of his two brothers.

What makes the achievement more remarkable is that not only are 17-year-old William, Rory and Timothy triplets, but he and Timothy have achieved recognition in spite of mental disabilities.

William, who is autistic, was recognised for the role he has played as head boy this year at Treetops School, Grays, and his success in the performing arts.

A drama and music enthusiast, William has performed in a range of song, dance and theatrical performances and in September will attend South Essex College in a bid pursue a career in music production.

Timothy, who has Asperger’s syndrome, has won two awards in 2010 and 2012 through Harris Academy, Chafford Hundred and Thurrock Scouts.

He aspires to study languages at university.

Rory also won a Jack Petchey award through Thurrock Scouts in 2012 for his role as a young leader and his achievements in long-distance running.

The Jack Petchey Awards were established in 1999 to recognise the positive contributions young people make throughout Essex.

The brothers’ proud parents, Murray and Mo, said: “We are both extremely proud of the boys, especially given their difficulties.”