For many, Rose Ayling-Ellis is the stand-out star of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Rose, who is the show’s first deaf contestant, has wowed audiences and is tipped to lift the glitterball trophy.
She included an emotional tribute to the deaf community in week eight with her Couple’s Choice dance, which featured a period of silence during the routine.
She takes to the floor this Saturday night in the final of the competition alongside partner Giovanni Pernice.
And she has the backing of the Tayside deaf community – who have a special video message for Rose.
OAP Weavers Deaf Hub Group, their chairperson Lorraine Wighton, and committee members of the Dundee Deaf Sports and Social Club who meet at Tayside Deaf Hub, told us why they’re championing Rose.
‘Totally amazing role model’
Lorraine, speaking on behalf of the group, says they have found following Rose’s journey emotional.
“It has been totally amazing for the deaf community across the whole of the UK to have Rose leading the way as a role model,” Lorraine explains.
“Rose has been an amazing spokesperson showing how deaf people can succeed and how easy it is for deaf and hearing worlds to come together.”
The way she and Giovanni work together has also been inspiring to them.
Lorraine says: “They way they are using the counts, making sure communication is key, the use of British Sign Language (BSL) and lip reading.
“It has been emotional too to see how the other presenters have started to use BSL when they respond to Rose.
“And totally amazing to see all the audience responding with visual applause. Wow, that is so emotional.”
The group is interested to see if as many deaf people decide to take up dancing as hearing people who have been inspired to learn British Sign Language.
“Rose has shown that anything is possible, deafness isn’t what stops you at all.”
So what’s their message to Rose ahead of the final?
Our message for Strictly’s Rose!
“The Deaf Community across Tayside are routing for Rose and Giovanni to win,” says Lorraine. “We will have all our fingers and toes crossed for them on Saturday night. Good luck!”
*Deaf people are exempt from mask wearing for communication purposes. The vast majority wear masks when out and about.