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Disability Now article

The founder of 'Your Local Cinema .com' has recently been voted winner of the Daily Mail 'Enterprising Young Brits: People’s Choice Award', at a ceremony honouring the outstanding contributions of young people.

What’s the best thing about being disabled?

I can't think of anything good about being disabled! I get it on life and am very happy, but I would imagine that I could have an even better time if I could hear without hearing aids, see properly without glasses, ride a bike, climb a tree etc - things most people take for granted.

What makes you angry?

I would say I'm calm almost all of the time - I rarely get angry. Frustrated sometimes, like when the computer crashes in the middle of something important, but I don't really get angry!

What’s the funniest thing anyone’s ever said to you about your impairment? And have you any good putdowns?

Well, there's always someone who comes out with "What are you - deaf?!" Which of course I reply "Yes, you fool".

If you were Prime Minister what one thing would you do to improve things for disabled people?

Somehow enable them to run their own business, or have a job that they were happy in. Make their own money, feel good about themselves. Most people can do most things if they try.

What’s the one thing that could be invented to make your life as a disabled person better?

Well, I'm profoundly deaf, practically blind in one eye and have mild cerebral palsy, so choosing one thing is difficult. Something to enable me to hear perfectly, without hearing aids would be best, I guess. I can't wear hearing aids when I'm sleeping, or swimming, or having a shower etc., it would be safer if I could hear at these times.

What do you most like about running your own business?

Being in control. My business is internet-based, so I can work from anywhere with an internet connection, anytime. I like being able to decide my own hours - I can work late and have the morning off, or work at the weekend and take Monday off, or whatever. I don't need to fit in with the traditional 9 to 5 way of life, which I imagine is very restricting to some people. It enables me to attend College too, which is great.

And what do you not like about it?

No proper holidays. Unless I pay someone to do the work for me, which I would prefer not to do! So if I do go on holiday I end up having to work. I have never had more than four days off in a row. And my laptop and iphone have to come everywhere with me.

Who’s your favourite disabled person ever?

I think everyone is disabled in some way - maybe physically, sensory, mentally, or socially, but most people don't class themselves as disabled. So I'll say Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Stephen Hawkings, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Lord Nelson - the usual geniuses. I'd also have to say my mum, who's quite mad.

Do you have any special or hidden talent?

Er, no.

If you didn’t have your impairment, which other one would you like to have for a day?

Tourettes Syndrome. I still live at home and I'm not allowed to swear...

How would you sum yourself up in ten words or less?

Happy, relaxed...

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