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A Strictly Rose blooms

By Sylvia Irvine-Robertson

Congratulations to Rose Ayling-Ellis and her partner Giovanni Pernice following their stupendous success in Strictly Come Dancing 2021 in winning the glitterball!

I have been following Rose’s progress with keen interest since the start of the competition in the hope that not only would she show promise as a dancer, but would raise awareness of the issues that hearing loss brings.

Rose, an actress in EastEnders, has been deaf since birth. Whilst she can pick up music and hear the beat, she is unable to distinguish the lyrics.

Rose exceeded expectations in every respect. She gave press interviews and openly discussed problems associated with deafness on the programme. Her determination, positivity and personality touched judges, presenters, dancers and viewers alike.

Her dancing skills went from strength to strength gaining a growing belief in her own ability, nurtured by the support of Giovanni. Support came also from the BBC production team, which had deaf awareness training and a British Sign Language interpreter was always present.

As a result, Rose has inspired a surge in enrolments for British Sign Language, dispelled myths around disability and given the deaf community a role model. Deafness is an invisible disability, but Rose has made it visible, and in so doing has raised perception and provided a new impetus to many people with hearing loss.

She has proven without doubt that, given the right level of support and a lot of determination, it is possible to achieve goals in life despite disability.

Since accessing Hearing Link’s services, Sylvia has joined us as one of our many brilliant volunteers, offering support to people with hearing loss on our Helpdesk

Watch Rose and Gio dancing in the final

Image courtesy of BBC Pictures.