deaf A dedicated British Sign Language (BSL) student from Ramsgate ‘with a heart of gold’ has been recognised with a prestigious award, and shortlisted for a national accolade.

Elizabeth Mincer, who studies at John Townsend Trust in Margate, was awarded South East Learner of the Year, and shortlisted for national Learner of the Year in the 2013 Signature Annual Awards.

Hosted by charity and leading awarding body in deaf communications – Signature – the annual awards recognise individuals and organisations that make positive steps to create a society in which deaf and deafblind people have full access.

Elizabeth’s dedication to improving her sign language skills so that she can assist Deaf people at her church is inspirational.

She is one of 22 regional winners which have been announced following a UK-wide search by Signature to find outstanding teachers and learners in deaf communications. All winners have been shortlisted for the national Learner of the Year or Teacher of the Year award, which will be presented at a glittering awards ceremony in London this November.

Elizabeth said: “I was absolutely delighted to find out that I had won Regional Learner of the Year. I love to learn and I’m so pleased that being able to sign allows me to improve access for Deaf people in my community.

“The Signature Annual Awards ceremony is one of the most anticipated events in the deaf communications calendar, I’m really looking forward to attending and celebrating with the other winners.”

Jim Edwards, Signature chief executive, said: “Our annual awards ceremony is a very special opportunity to honour people like Elizabeth, who are dedicated to creating a culture which is open and welcoming for everyone.

“Elizabeth’s commitment to breaking down communication barriers between deaf and hearing people is inspirational. She is a very deserving regional winner and I wish her the best of luck at the national ceremony in November.”

With national award categories for Teacher of the Year, Learner of the Year, Community Spirit, Organisational Achievement, Young Learner of the Year, Centre of the Year, Communication Professional of the Year and the Joseph Maitland Robinson Award for Outstanding Contribution, each year the Signature Annual Awards recognise a wealth of people and organisations working with deaf people across the nation.

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