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British Sign Language interpreter helps make Preston’s Christmas lights switch on more inclusive

Posted on - 30th November, 2021 - 8:54am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston News

The Preston Christmas lights switch on was made more accessible than ever as a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter was there to translate all the action.

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Hundreds of people gathered in Preston’s Flag Market to see the Christmas lights in the city centre and to watch the performances, and most were translated live into BSL. 

Sarah Jacobs, 22, who is hard of hearing said: “The inclusion of a BSL interpreter meant I knew what the hosts were saying, and meant I could take part in the show. It made me feel really included.”

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She also explained how happy she was to see her friends dancing all night and having a good time. 

Mike Pixton from Preston BID, who held the event, said: “It was great to have an interpreter at Saturday’s event thanks to a partnership with Disability Equality North West who arranged for Donna to sign the performances, making the event even more accessible.”

The use of BSL is becoming more common in entertainment such as Rose Ayling-Ellis’ appearance on Strictly Come Dancing using BSL and a translator to interpret what others were saying.

The stage for the evening was set up in front of the Harris Museum, and attendees saw performances by S Club 7 Star Jo O’Meara, Lee Ryan from Blue, and ‘Since September’ who are opening for the Little Mix tour next year. 

Gem & Cook from CBeebies Swashbuckle also took to the stage to entertain the children through their pirate dances, and the Grinch and Santa even made an appearance too.

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