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Strictly star’s message for Ebor schoolchildren

Children at Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy received an unexpected treat when Strictly Come Dancing star Rose Ayling-Ellis publicly thanked Ellie Blackley’s Year 1 class on Instagram for their cards and messages of support.

The EastEnders actress – who was born deaf and uses British Sign Language (BSL) – scored a perfect 40 alongside professional dancer Giovanni Pernice in Hallowe’en week. It is the earliest in the competition that the top mark has been handed out.

Part of Saturday’s dance was performed in silence, to give viewers a glimpse of what life is like for deaf people.

“Everyone in Team Blackley has been watching Rose from Strictly each week,” said Ellie. “We have all been learning to sign as a child in the class uses BSL. Rose is a fantastic role model for them. The children love watching her dance so much that they decided to make and send her some letters.

“The children were so excited to see their replies and couldn’t believe it!”

Both Rose and partner Gio posted pictures on their Instagram accounts, which were picked up and featured in the Daily Express.

Rose wrote: “Thank you to Ms Blackley’s Year 1 Class! It is very adorable” and showed a picture of her with the appropriately sparkly and glittery cards and holding her hands in a heart shape.

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