World Exclusive story by AMY and ISOBELLA, 13, with additional reporting and photos by India, Amy, Isabelle, Sam, Evie and Jaiden, Jill Dando News
During World War 2 and for over 70 years after, the late Queen Elizabeth kept Britain motivated with messages of hope and optimism.
Now just months after her death, the incredible Ellise Hayward, 21, is carrying on the same message of hope and optimism from her walking frame, using the late Queen’s same voice.
Despite having cerebral palsy from birth, using her eyes to speak via high-tech Eye-Gaze technology – Ellise has been motivating audiences across the UK for several years from her walking frame.
She is giving the world a much-needed positive message of hope while the life-changing Eye-Gaze technology beams out the late Queen’s voice.
During lockdown, Ellise Tweeted messages of hope, positivity and optimism from her Somerset home.
Now she is in schools and other locations motivating children, students, staff, trainee teachers and more.
This week Ellise inspired trainee teachers at Priory Community School Academy, part of The Priory Learning Trust in Weston-super-Mare. Then Jill Dando News reporters interviewed her.
Ellise thrived at the secondary school Preston School where Gregg Morrison was her headteacher. Gregg is now Director of Secondary Education at TPLT.
In a message posted on YouTube Ellise said: “My message to you is one of good news, that optimism is what we all need more than ever before.
“I have had cerebral palsy from birth but I can only see the positives. Life is beautiful.
“My voice speaks out the same voice as the inspirational late Queen Elizabeth, who was also an infectious messenger of optimism. So – Whatever is going on in your life, or the world, choose optimism.”
The late Queen too began her messages of hope and optimism early. During World War II, at the age of 14 she was telling millions via the radio that ‘in the end all will be well’.
Gregg said: “To be honest, I don’t think there is a speaker in the world who is better placed to motivate than Ellise. She thrived at school, was loved by everyone, and has enthusiasm to match the most passionate of people.
“She lets nothing hold her back, and her refreshing message of hope and optimism is one we all need to hear, especially in these days where there is so much bad news everywhere.”
She told our Jill Dando News reporters that she started motivational speaking doing assemblies in 2019 back at her old school.
She added: “After that, my physical impairment and medical support advisor, Lyn suggested that I should begin to use my voice more to inform and teach others about how my impairments have affected me and how they might help. “I never thought 10 years ago I would be a motivational speaker and talking to hundreds of people as I was that shy little girl, and I’m truly grateful for all the amazing opportunities I have had throughout my career.”
She explained how Eye-Gaze works: “Eyegaze is a means of access to a computer, it allows your eyes to become the mouse. So as you look around the screen, the cursor or pointer will go where you are looking.
“Clicks are performed by dwelling on a spot for a fixed period of time. In everyday conversations there can be silences while I build my sentences, these can be perceived as awkward for the person talking to me.
“These silences are not awkward at all for me, as I am busy composing my answers, so please remember that all silences are not awkward!”
She said: “I’ve always looked on the positive side of my cerebral palsy and always try my best in everything.
“I had some amazing teachers in primary school who understood my needs, whereas some had never experienced a pupil with my abilities before.
“I was very lucky with my secondary school, everyone treated me like any other student so I didn’t feel any different from my peers.
“I had amazing teachers and one on ones who were always there for me and understood my needs. I was allowed the ‘freedom’ to be with my friends at break and lunch times and I absolutely loved it as I felt just like them.”