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Ex-Hollyoaks Actress Rachel Shenton Uses Sign Language To Accept Oscar

Chris Ogden

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Ex-Hollyoaks Actress Rachel Shenton Uses Sign Language To Accept Oscar

Former Hollyoaks actress Rachel Shenton won her first Oscar at last night's Academy Awards ceremony and accepted the award in an unusual way, giving her entire acceptance speech in sign language.

The Silent Child - written by and starring Shenton and directed by her fiancé Chris Overton - won the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film at last night's 90th Academy Awards last night.

WATCH RACHEL'S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH IN SIGN LANGUAGE BELOW:

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Rachel, who's perhaps best known for playing glamour girl Mitzeee Minniver in the British soap between 2010 and 2013, signed her speech after making a promise to the film's six-year-old lead actress Maisie Sly, who is profoundly deaf.

Taking the stage with Chris, Rachel thanked the Academy for raising awareness of a disability which often goes unnoticed.

"Our movie is about a deaf child being born into a world of silence. It's not exaggerated or sensationalised for the movie - this is happening. Millions of children all over the world live in silence and face communication barriers and access to education,' Rachel told the audience.

"Deafness is a silent disability, it is not life threatening and you cannot see it, so I want to say the biggest thank you to the Academy for allowing us to put this in front of a mainstream audience."

Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton and six-year-old Maisie Sly. Credit: PA
Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton and six-year-old Maisie Sly. Credit: PA

Deafness is an issue particularly close to Rachel's heart, being the child of a parent who went deaf.

Rachel's father became deaf for the final two years of his life after undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer. At the age of 16, she learnt British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate with him and later qualified as a BSL interpreter.

She has been a long-time ambassador for the National Deaf Children's Society in the UK, completing a skydive and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the charity in the past.

She has also previously volunteered for Staffordshire charity Deaflinks, running drama workshops for deaf children.

Rachel and Chris with their Oscar awards. Credit: PA
Rachel and Chris with their Oscar awards. Credit: PA

Following on from Rachel's acceptance speech, Chris praised Rachel for her efforts, saying the success of The Silent Child is all down to her.

"It's really your hard work for the past twelve years that has really made this project authentic," Chris said.

It's great that The Silent Child has helped draw people's attention to deafness, which is the third biggest disability in the world according to the British Deaf Association.

No doubt Maisie was delighted to see Rachel keep her promise.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Academy Award, Academy Awards, Oscars

Chris Ogden
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