A CEREBRAL palsy sufferer from Sonning Common says she wants to boost opportunities for disabled people by landing a job in television.
Hannah Rice has just graduated from University College Falmouth with a first class degree in digital media.
The 21-year-old is now pursuing a job as a TV presenter because she says disabled people are under-represented on screen.
Miss Rice said: “I don’t think there are enough disabled presenters.
“There are a few, on children’s television and in news and current affairs, but they are generally in documentaries about their disability. There is no one on something like Countryfile.”
She has already made a number of radio programmes while at university and has worked for BBC Radio Cornwall.
Miss Rice, who lives in Woodlands Road with father John, a sales manager, and mother Gaye, a teacher at Sonning Common Primary School, had wanted to be an actress.
She said: “I have always been interested in the performing arts and I have taken part in performances from a young age. I went to drama Saturday school and thought I would go down that route but I would go to auditions and find it a bit overwhelming.
“I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t get many roles because I was in a wheelchair.
“If I was asked to play a character in a period play or when chairs aren’t used, the audience couldn’t relate to me in the same way they could to do an able- bodied person.
“I chose radio first because it doesn’t matter if you are disabled or not. The listeners are only interested in what you have to say and your opinions.
“I thought I would use my voice and my digital skills. I am very conscientious and work very hard.”
Miss Rice was born three months premature and as a youngster used a walking frame before moving to a wheelchair when she was about eight.
She went to Bishopswood Nursery at Valley Road School in Henley and then moved to Sonning Common primary. When she was 10, Miss Price was withdrawn from school to have major surgery on her hips, which were rebuilt using metal plates.
She then spent a year at the Peto Institute in Hungry where she received conductive education to help her recover mentally and physically and she learnt to speak Hungarian.
On her return to the UK, she attended Wallingford School and then Thames Valley University in Reading, where she achieved a triple distinction in a B-Tech in performing arts before going to Falmouth.
Her mother said: “She had a personal assistant because she is not totally independent in her personal care.
“She had voice-activated software so she could write her essays and was one of only three on her course who achieved a first. She deserved it for battling against the odds.
“It was wonderful, brilliant, and we are very proud of her. We are always surprised when she does well but perhaps we shouldn’t be.
“I think Hannah’s story will be of great encouragement to other similar families so they know that you can get there.”