Hollyoaks star Rachel Shenton's deaf dad inspired her to make Oscar-shortlisted film | The News Amed
Connect with us

Fashion

Hollyoaks star Rachel Shenton’s deaf dad inspired her to make Oscar-shortlisted film

A DRAMATIC event in Rachel Shenton’s childhood did not just prove life-changing for her family – but set her on a path to possible Oscar glory. Her dad Geoff had been waiting for a train when he mi…

Published

on

A DRAMATIC event in Rachel Shenton’s childhood did not just prove life-changing for her family – but set her on a path to possible Oscar glory.

Her dad Geoff had been waiting for a train when he missed an announcement about a change of platform — and realised he had suddenly become profoundly deaf.

 Former Hollyoaks actress Rachel Shelton was 11 when her dad lost his hearing Former Hollyoaks actress Rachel Shelton was 11 when her dad lost his hearing

Former Hollyoaks actress Rachel, 11 at the time, said: “He couldn’t find out what the new platform was because he couldn’t hear what people were saying.

“He just needed someone to write it down but no one knew what the problem was. Seeing something like that happen when you’re a child is difficult.”

Although her father could still speak and later learned to lip-read, the experience made Rachel, 30, determined to learn sign language.

And now she has written and starred in a short film, The Silent Child, about a four-year-old deaf girl, born to hearing parents, who feels isolated in the world.

 Rachel's and her dad's experiences inspired her to write and star in an Oscar-shortlisted short filmCollect Rachel’s and her dad’s experiences inspired her to write and star in an Oscar-shortlisted short film

The drama, directed by Rachel’s fiancé Chris Overton, has been shortlisted for an Academy Award in the category Best Live Action Short. Today they will find out if they have made the final five nominations and a place at the Oscars ceremony in LA on March 4. Although she had excitedly tweeted the news that she had made the shortlist, Rachel is now remaining coy about her chances of winning.

But she did say: “It would be really good for this subject to be more high-profile and in front of a mainstream audience, which I believe it should be.”

The story was mainly filmed at Tunstall Stych Farm, in Rachel’s home village of Caverswall, Staffs, and was paid for through crowdfunding.

Its leading lady is six-year-old Maisie Sly, who is deaf and won the part after her hearing parents answered Rachel’s Facebook ad for a deaf child actress.

 Six-year-old Maisie Sly, won the part after her parents answered Rachel’s Facebook ad for a deaf child actressSlick Films / London Flair PR Six-year-old Maisie Sly, won the part after her parents answered Rachel’s Facebook ad for a deaf child actress

Speaking in sign language, Maisie said: “It was hard work because sometimes I had to film things again and again.

“I wanted to show people that deaf children can do anything.”

She added: “I think we’re going to go to the Oscars.”

While the storyline is based on a friend who Rachel met in America, her passion for raising awareness of the struggles faced by deaf people came from her late father.

Rachel Shenton, Maisie Sly and Gilson Sly talk all things The Silent Child on Good Morning Britain

She said: “Dad tried to put on a brave face for us and pretend everything was fine but it meant a huge adjustment for the family.

“There are so many everyday things that you take for granted, such as answering the telephone or chatting round the meal table.”

It is not clear what caused Geoff’s deafness, but for the last 18 months of his life he could not even hear with the help of hearing aids.

Rachel said: “One explanation was that it was a side-effect of successful chemotherapy treatment he’d had for throat cancer, but that was years earlier.”

 Rachel during the stint on Hollyoaks that gave her a taste of fame Rachel during the stint on Hollyoaks that gave her a taste of fame

After deafness struck, Rachel watched as Geoff, who ran a haulage firm, suddenly struggled to drive, unable to hear sirens or car horns.

She said: “I witnessed my superhero dad for the first time seem vulnerable and I noticed how easy it was for people to leave him out, not intentionally but in a group conversation made up of speaking and listening.

“When someone’s ears don’t work, how included can they be?”

And so, at 16, she started to learn sign language. She persevered for five years, eventually becoming a qualified interpreter. She recalled: “I found it a helpful way of dealing with what had happened.

Trailer for the 2017 film The Silent Child directed by Chris Overton

“It made me more aware about the things my dad might have gone through.”

Rachel was also pursuing an acting career. Having started drama and dance lessons at six, she went on to land small parts in Waterloo Road and Holby City before Hollyoaks came along in 2010 with the role of glamorous schemer Mitzeee Minniver.

During her three years in the Channel 4 soap Rachel started working with the National Deaf Children’s Society. She said: “I’d followed their work for a few years and just said if there was anything I could do to help, let me know.

“I’ve been actively involved in fundraising and campaigns ever since.” That includes a sponsored skydive and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania.

 Rachel has worked for the National Deaf Children's Society and is a patron of dDeaflinks Staffordshire Rachel has worked for the National Deaf Children’s Society and is a patron of dDeaflinks Staffordshire

Rachel is also a patron of the charity dDeaflinks Staffordshire, for which she completed a ten-day fundraising trek across the Great Wall of China.

And she is continuing her mission to help deaf people. One of her biggest concerns is the lack of provision for deaf children in mainstream schools, with figures showing 78 per cent of them do not receive additional support.

She said last year: “The statistics of children failing GCSEs is far too high and completely avoidable.

“In 2003 the Government recognised sign language as its own language, yet 14 years later we still don’t learn sign language in schools but we learn French, German, Spanish and more.

 Rachel tweeted her pride after the Oscars Shortlist included The Silent ChildTwitter Rachel tweeted her pride after the Oscars Shortlist included The Silent Child

“There is a huge lack of awareness within education in mainstream schools and I will do everything I can to change that.”

Rachel’s commitment to deaf causes continued when she was cast in American TV drama series Switched at Birth in 2014, playing a student teacher who was fluent in sign language.

Her three years in the groundbreaking teen drama included an entire episode conducted in sign language. Rachel recalled: “American sign language is quite different from British, including the entire alphabet, so it meant some extra learning.”

Living in LA for months at a time, she became pals with Brit TV host and fellow expat Kelly Brook, and developed a taste for the healthy Californian lifestyle.

 Maisie (left) and Rachel (right) acting in The Silent ChildSlick Films / London Flair PR Maisie (left) and Rachel (right) acting in The Silent Child

She said: “Healthy food is more accessible there. It’s easy to get a smoothie or a really healthy meal.

When I come home I invariably put on a few pounds, then run it off again afterwards.”

She added: “There can be a social pressure on women to look a certain way, but as long as I’m happy with myself, then it doesn’t matter.

“Like all women, I put on my jeans sometimes and think they’re a bit tight, so I go for an extra run.”

 Rachel says she is unlikely to buy into the Californian size-zero fixationGetty – Contributor Rachel says she is unlikely to buy into the Californian size-zero fixation

Fashion

Why Eugenie’s wedding will probably be MORE star-studded than Prince Harry’s

THE second royal wedding has been announced for 2018 – Princess Eugenie, 27, and her boyfriend of seven years Jack Brooksbank, 31. But what can we expect from the big day and will it be overshadowe…

Published

on

By

THE second royal wedding has been announced for 2018 – Princess Eugenie, 27, and her boyfriend of seven years Jack Brooksbank, 31.

But what can we expect from the big day and will it be overshadowed by Prince Harry tying the knot to Meghan Markle in May? This is what the Queen’s former aide Dickie Arbiter predicts…

 Princess Eugenie is engaged to her long-term boyfriend Jack BrooksbankAFP Princess Eugenie is engaged to her long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank

Both of the weddings will be held this year at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, but will Eugenie’s be on a smaller scale?

Speaking to the Sun Online, Former Palace Press Secretary Dickie said a full royal turnout would be expected for both the Queen’s grandson Harry and her granddaughter Eugenie, but there could be a big difference in the guest list.

Dickie said: “Harry and Meghan will be very conscious that the guest list will be the people that they want.

“In the case of Harry being sixth in line for the throne and his father being heir to the throne, there might well be some people who they have to invite in terms of protocol.

 The pair became engaged in Nicaragua earlier this month The pair became engaged in Nicaragua earlier this month  Former Palace Press Secretary Dickie Arbiter gave his predictions for Princess Eugenie's wedding and said it is likely to be very similar to Prince Harry's dayPA:Press Association Former Palace Press Secretary Dickie Arbiter gave his predictions for Princess Eugenie’s wedding and said it is likely to be very similar to Prince Harry’s day

“That sort of situation won’t fall on Eugenie because she is number nine in line for the throne so pretty low down the food chain.”

“Is Harry a celebrity groupie? Not really. Is Eugenie a celebrity groupie? Well probably,” Dickie added.

“She’s got a lot more celebrity friends than Harry has so the guest list would probably differ.”

And despite tying the knot at the same venue, Prince Harry’s day will most likely include some extra duties.

 The couple showed of Eugenie's stunning engagement ring featuring a padparadscha sapphire surrounded by diamondsGetty – Pool The couple showed of Eugenie’s stunning engagement ring featuring a padparadscha sapphire surrounded by diamonds

Dickie said: “At the end of the day a wedding is a wedding and the ceremony itself will be very much like Harry’s.

“Having said that Harry is number six in line, he would undoubtedly probably do a carriage drive or a walk about Windsor.

“I would image a carriage ride after the wedding, whether Eugenie does the same, well that really remains to be seen.”

The Duke and Duchess of York are delighted to announce the engagement of Princess Eugenie to Mr. Jack Brooksbank. pic.twitter.com/ct45JvDfbq

— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) January 22, 2018

St George’s Chapel seats around 800 guests for the ceremony, and Dickie predicts both Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie will head next door to St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle for the reception.

He said: “I would have thought for that number of people that St George’s Hall, the Grand Reception Room, Waterloo Chamber – they are all interlinked those three rooms – so the likelihood is it could well be there.

“There has been no details given or announcement but it would make sense that if you have 800 that would be a way to accommodate them.”

 Eugenie's mum Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, pictured right, said she is delighted by the newsPA:Press Association/PA Images Eugenie’s mum Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, pictured right, said she is delighted by the news

However Dickie insists that you shouldn’t expect Eugenie’s wedding to be any more relaxed than Prince Harry’s.

The palace insider said: “You look at Harry and you look at Meghan. I think it’ll be pretty relaxed. The only time people think it won’t be relaxed is when you have a full turnout of the royal family, but no, it’ll be very relaxed.”

Dickie confirmed that Princess Eugenie will be given away by her dad Prince Andrew.

He said: “Oh yes, fathers always give their daughters away. I would hope that Meghan’s father will give her away.

“We know he is reclusive living in Mexico, but it would be such a shame if he didn’t.

“The interesting part of the whole set up is that Eugenie’s mother would be there.

“That would be the first time she would be in a formal gathering with the royal family for a long, long time.”

 Eugenie, 27, cried when Mr Brooksbank got down on one knee in a sunset proposalRex Features Eugenie, 27, cried when Mr Brooksbank got down on one knee in a sunset proposal

However Dickie insists that despite Sarah Ferguson, 58, and Prince Andrew, 57, separating in 1996, that the wedding day will be peaceful.

He said: “The family are very polite, extremely polite and they will welcome her as mother of the bride and that’s it.

“At the end of the day, she and Andrew will go back to Royal Lodge and the rest of the family will go back to their respective homes and Eugenie and Jack will go on their honeymoon.

“Everything will be right. She and Andrew are living under the same roof. Everything is still friendly.

“They have been first-class parents. They’ve been joint parents for the two girls growing up, things happening at school, they’ve been there.

“They’ve been model parents.”

 The pair are set to marry here at St George's Chapel where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will wed in MayAlamy The pair are set to marry here at St George’s Chapel where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will wed in May

Dickie predicted that Princess Beatrice would play a big part in her sister’s wedding day and would most likely be a bridesmaid.

He said: “That is the billion dollar question. I’d be surprised if she wasn’t. Matron of honour probably as she is older.”

The former Palace Press Secretary spoke about whether Princess Eugenie’s fiancé Jack will get a title after they get married.

 Dickie insisted that you shouldn’t expect Eugenie’s wedding to be any more relaxed than Prince Harry’sGetty – Contributor Dickie insisted that you shouldn’t expect Eugenie’s wedding to be any more relaxed than Prince Harry’s

He said: “When you get a male member of the royal family, the female adopts the name of the male member.

“But the male ‘commoner’ doesn’t adopt the name of the female royal member.

“You may remember a story some time ago appeared about the Duke of York allegedly wanting prospective grooms of his daughters to have a title, but there was a suggestion that the Prince of Wales had vetoed that.

Continue Reading

Fashion

Woman, 24, loses 8st and ditches kebabs after seeing a Facebook photo of herself at 17st eating ice cream

NAOMI ARMITAGE scoffed kebabs, crisps and peanut butter non-stop – until a single ice cream finally made her change her life. Then a teenager, Naomi had been enjoying a day out with friends when sh…

Published

on

By

NAOMI ARMITAGE scoffed kebabs, crisps and peanut butter non-stop – until a single ice cream finally made her change her life.

Then a teenager, Naomi had been enjoying a day out with friends when she ordered the chocolate cone and posed for a snap on the seafront.

 Naomi Armitage shed eight stone after realising she had a weight problemStewart Williams – The Sun Naomi Armitage shed eight stone after realising she had a weight problem

But when a pal posted the photo on Facebook later that day, she saw just how big she really was — weighing in at 17st and wearing a size 22.

Naomi, now 24, says: “I burst into tears when I saw the picture. The girl in the photo looked nothing like how I imagined myself.

“I looked in the mirror to do my make-up in the morning but never looked in full-length ones that showed my whole body. That photo gave me what I needed to change.”

So, aged 19, Naomi vowed to cut out snacks, say no to takeaways and cook healthy meals at home. She now weighs 9st 4lb and wears size-eight clothes after shedding eight stone.

 When Naomi saw this snap of her she knew she had to take control of her weight When Naomi saw this snap of her she knew she had to take control of her weight

The art firm owner from Blackpool says: “I was committed in a way I’d never been before. I looked up healthy recipes and started cooking from scratch.

“I also plucked up the courage to start working out a few times a week.

“The weight fell off me and now I’m finally in a body I can be proud of.”

Naomi had always suffered with her weight.

 The 24-year-old said she burst into tears in a dressing room when she struggled to fit into clothesStewart Williams – The Sun The 24-year-old said she burst into tears in a dressing room when she struggled to fit into clothes

She says: “As I kid, I had a big appetite but it got worse at secondary school. I used my dinner money to buy kebabs and chips.”

On top of that, Naomi ate four slices of toast with peanut butter for breakfast, plus crisps and chocolate bars before getting home for a heavy dinner such as stew. She also snacked in secret.

Naomi says: “I would creep downstairs when my parents were in bed and make myself a peanut butter sandwich.

“I’d also spend any spare cash I had on chocolate on the way home.”

 Naomi stopped getting takeaways and eating snacks, and cooked healthy meals at home Naomi stopped getting takeaways and eating snacks, and cooked healthy meals at home

By 16, Naomi weighed 14st and was a size 18.

She says: “Friends started going on holidays and I was invited but turned down every invitation.

The thought of going somewhere hot and squeezing into shorts, strappy tops and swimwear filled me with dread.”

Over the next three years, Naomi piled on weight, turning to food to compensate for her low self-esteem.

 Naomi said it wasn't easy acknowledging she had a weight problem but she is so glad she didStewart Williams – The Sun Naomi said it wasn’t easy acknowledging she had a weight problem but she is so glad she did

She says: “I went on dates but never let things go too far because I was scared of stripping off in the bedroom. I just pushed it all to the back of my mind.”

But then came that fateful day on Blackpool seafront with the chocolate ice cream.

Naomi says: “That was a normal snack for me. I don’t even remember posing for the picture but when I saw it on Facebook, I was horrified.

“I didn’t recognise myself. I felt sick and didn’t know what to do.”

 Losing weight gave her confidence and she finally started to believe in herselfStewart Williams – The Sun Losing weight gave her confidence and she finally started to believe in herself

The next day, Naomi broke down in tears during a shopping trip with her mum Denise, 45.

She says: “We were in the changing rooms and I was trying to find clothes that fitted me but just sat on the floor and cried.

“That afternoon, I made myself stare at the rolls of fat on my body and acknowledged that this time, I really had to change.”

“It was hard but I was determined. I decided my secret snacking days were behind me.”

 Naomi says she is finally in a body she can be proud ofStewart Williams – The Sun Naomi says she is finally in a body she can be proud of

Naomi’s healthy new regime saw her drop three stone in a year and get back in Size 16 clothes.

Growing in confidence, she began going to yoga and pilates classes — then running when not in the gym.

Naomi says: “It was incredible. The more weight I lost, the more energy I had. I wasn’t going to stop.”

In April 2016, Naomi hit her current weight of 9st 4lb.

Since shedding the weight, Naomi has found love with a long-time friend, soldier Jack Dyson, 28.

DIET: Before v After

BEFORE:

  • Breakfast: Four slices of toast with peanut butter
  • Lunch: Two white-bread sandwiches plus cheese and biscuits
  • Dinner: Large doner kebab and chips
  • Snacks: Two packets of crisps, three chocolate bars

AFTER:

  • Breakfast: Porridge and fruit
  • Lunch: Chicken salad
  • Dinner: Home-cooked cottage pie
  • Snacks: Banana, herbal tea
Continue Reading

Fashion

Meghan Markle’s Brixton look cost £1618… here’s how to get the look for a fraction of the price

MEGHAN Markle looked a million dollars when she visited Brixton earlier today – or £1618 to be exact. The future Mrs. Prince Harry was beaming from ear to ear as she accompanied her royal fia…

Published

on

By

MEGHAN Markle looked a million dollars when she visited Brixton earlier today – or £1618 to be exact.

The future Mrs. Prince Harry was beaming from ear to ear as she accompanied her royal fiance to south London radio station Reprezent FM.

 Meghan and Harry have become one of the most talked about couples since their engagement was announcedGetty Images – Getty Meghan and Harry have become one of the most talked about couples since their engagement was announced

Meghan, 36, appeared to be particularly happy during this afternoon’s visit, with the US actress again forgoing gloves in the cold weather to give fans a glimpse of her stunning ring.

The couple met with presenters and staff from the radio station that has launched the careers of musicians including Stormzy, and which trains hundreds of young people every year in media and employment skills.

During the visit, the royal couple were expected to learn more about the training programme, having launched their tour around the UK ahead of their wedding that will take place in just 122 days at St George’s Chapel at Windsor.

 Meghan and Harry left the studios after about an hour and were greeted by delighted fans Meghan and Harry left the studios after about an hour and were greeted by delighted fans

While we have to wait a while to see Meghan’s wedding dress, we can certainly appreciate how she battled the British chill.

Here we break down her perfect January outfit, and work out how you can steal her style for MUCH less.

Earrings – £222

 Les Plaisirs de Birks Gold Bar Earrings are a whopping £222Les Plaisirs de Birks Les Plaisirs de Birks Gold Bar Earrings are a whopping £222

Meghan’s earrings are from Les Plaisirs de Birks, a Canadian brand that she has regulalry worn on official engagements with Prince Harry.

The Gold Bar Earrings are £222, and also available at Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths.

Hurley Burley is selling £10 lookalikes via Not On The High Street. 

Scarf – £69

 This Jigsaw scarf was priced at £69 but has now sold outJIGSAW This Jigsaw scarf was priced at £69 but has now sold out

Meghan wrapped up in Jigsaw’s Sara Sewn On Fringe Scarf, which has now – like most of the other components of today’s look – sold out.

It is 100 per cent wool, and was originally priced at £69 but was reduced to £34 before it flew off the shelves for good.

Posh store Peal has a gorgeous cashmere scarf reduced to £89 that would equally great with Meghan’s outfit… or yours.

Or for a cheaper alternative, ASOS’ long tassel scarf is just £14. 

Jumper – £45

 This black jumper has now sold out after Meghan wore itMarks and Spencer This black jumper has now sold out after Meghan wore it

Already embracing the British way of life, Meghan wore a £45 black jumper from M&S for her first official engagement of 2018.

The Wool Blend Round Neck Bell Sleeve Jumper has now sold out online, but there might be some still available in stores.

There are plenty of bell sleeve jumpers and tops around at the moment – this one from Missy Empire is just £19.

Coat – £585

 Meghan's Smythe coat has sold out in camel and greySMYTHE Meghan’s Smythe coat has sold out in camel and grey

Meghan loves her Smythe Brando Coat and also has one in a darker grey hue.

The camel one – that she wore today – comes in at just under £585, but has now sold out.

If you’re desperate to add a similar coat to your repertoire, Reiss’ £325 Casey coat is a good match, and ASOS’ slim coat in wool blend is a cheaper lookalike for £75.

Trousers – £406

 Meghan wore a pair of sold out woollen Burberry trousersBurberry Meghan wore a pair of sold out woollen Burberry trousers

Meghan’s Burberry Stockport Slouchy Trousers have been sold out for months, but were on sale for £406.

The loose-fitting wool trousers feature a comfy drawstring waist.

Pure Collection’s Slim Leg Wool Blend Trouser are now £90 reduced from £120, and available up to a size 20. 

 

Shoes – £291

 Sarah Flints Jay Pump 100s are in short supplySARAH FLINT Sarah Flints Jay Pump 100s are in short supply

Meghan stood tall in a pair of 4″ Sarah Flint suede heels, that retail for just under $400 – £291.

There are still some of the Jay Pump 100s available online in bigger sizes, and in other materials and colourways.

A much cheaper option are In The Style’s Melody ankle boots, which have a very similar heel – and are only £19.99.

Continue Reading

Trending