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Dyslexic pupil celebrates three As

A student who did not write a word of his A-level exam answers was celebrating three A grades today.

Aidan Clancy, who is severely dyslexic and has dyspraxia, used a headset and a laptop with voice recognition software when he sat the classics, economics and history papers.

The Ripon Grammar School pupil, from Ripley, North Yorkshire, was in a separate room from his friends who were writing away in the exam hall, while he spoke into the laptop which cannot access the internet.

The 18-year-old said: "The technology allows me to put down on paper what's in my head.

"I tried to take my AS exams last year in the normal way because it had worked OK for my GCSEs.

"But A-levels are a big step up. After the AS exams, which included three in one day totalling five hours and 47 minutes, my hand was aching really badly, I was exhausted and I really under-performed.

"I chose my subjects because I'm interested in them.

"I had the dilemma of choosing short answer subjects instead but they're not what I enjoy.

"The possibility of speaking answers to a scribe was mentioned, but I thought it would be really difficult to be able to go back over what they'd written.

"We thought there must be a solution using technology.

"We found out about the voice recognition software and I re-sat my ASs using it and did so much better.

"I'm nowhere near as tired after an exam and no longer get the headaches.

"The school has been great. I soon as they were made aware this was an option they, along with my occupational therapist Michelle Rundle, fought for it for me to use it."

The software, Dragon Naturally Speaking, recognises the spoken words and translates them into a word document, allowing the speaker to check them and cut and paste and paragraphs if necessary.

Over time, it recognises the nuances in individual speakers and it is even possible to select different accents.

But it can make mistakes.

Aidan explained: "In one history essay I had to say the Temple of Hephaestus and that came out as the Temple of Her Feistiness."

He will go on to Newcastle University to read history.

He said: "I'm really happy with my results. It's so frustrating when you know you're capable but that's not reflected in how you've done. It must be even worse for young people who haven't been diagnosed.

"I hope my experience shows them that there is a solution."

Amputees team up for sponsored walk

Amputees will raise money for a charity close to their hearts by taking part in a 9.2-mile trek through Bradford.

Fundraisers who have lost limbs due to illness or injury will be joined by friends and family for the Airedale & Bradford Out On A Limb sponsored walk.

Money raised will help Airedale & Bradford Out On A Limb provide equipment such as temporary ramps to amputees recently discharged from hospital, as well as information and practical support.

The event, sponsored by law firm Irwin Mitchell, will begin at Bradford & Bingley Sports Club on August 16. A Fun Day will be held at the club from 2pm.


Appeal after park assault

Police in Wakefield want to trace two men in connection with an unprovoked assault on a couple in a park on Sunday 3rd August.

The males approached a man and a woman who were sitting on bench in Thornes Park off Horbury Road around 7pm.

The couple were verbally abused before one of the men headbutted the male victim. The two men then walked off towards a fairground which was in another part of the park.

The man who headbutted the victim has been described as white, in his 20s, and around 5' 10" tall. He had a distinctive blonde haircut which was short at the sides, and very long on top. He was wearing a pink t-shirt and jeans, and carrying a can of lager.

The other man was asian, in his 30s, 5' 10" tall with short black hair and a well-trimmed beard. He was wearing a red t-shirt, a dark blue puffa jacket, and dark blue or grey cargo pants. He had a young girl with him at the time.

PCSO Colin Starford from Wakefield West NPT said: "At the time of this assault there was a fairground in the park so there will have been a lot of people around.

"These men could also have been in the company of a third man and a woman who were standing nearby. I am appealing for any witnesses to this assault, or anyone with any information to call me on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

Dad reunited with firefighter who saved his life

Dad Dominic Beadle has been reunited with the firefighter who helped save his life after he had a cardiac arrest.

The 38-year-old "died for 10 minutes? after collapsing on the football field at Hemsworth Sports Centre on the evening of June 17.

One of his fellow players ran to the nearby retained Hemsworth Fire Station for help where Firefighter Paul Waters (pictured) and Firefighter Andrew Houlton were carrying out routine duties.

Dominic Beadle, his partner Angela and their baby daughter Anya meet Firefighter  Paul Waters
Dominic Beadle, his partner Angela and their baby daughter Anya meet Firefighter Paul Waters Credit: West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

The pair rushed back with the first aid bag and the automated external defibrillator (AED) and took over basic life support, which had been started by Dominic?s mates. At this point Dominic was not breathing and had no pulse and the AED was used to shock Dominic?s heart back into a rhythm whilst an oxygen bag mask was also administered.

Fortunately, Dominic responded well and was semi-conscious when handed over to the care of paramedics.

He then spent two days in an induced coma at Pinderfields Hospital, in Wakefield, before being transferred to Leeds General Infirmary where he underwent a quintuple heart bypass.

The IT technician, who is now recovering from his ordeal at his Pontefract home, has no memory of the incident but has expressed his gratitude after hearing what happened to him.

He said: “The fire service lads saved my life. If it was not for them I would not be here.

“I have a lot of people to thank for their quick-thinking actions that day and for the care I have received afterwards. I feel like I have been given a second chance at life. The thought that my daughter could have grown up without a dad is unbearable.”

Firefighter Waters said that in his 22 years? service, knowing he has helped save Dominic is a real highlight.

The 52-year-old said: “Saving someone?s life is better than winning the lottery. It was great to see Dominic again – I said to him, you?re looking better!”

Dominic?s open heart surgery took seven hours and involved five veins being taken from his legs to replace the blocked arteries in his heart due to cholesterol.

Appeal after cyclist dies in collision

Police are appealing for witnesses after a cyclist died in a collision near Kirkby Overblow.

It occurred at 1.40pm on Wednesday, August 13, on Follifoot Lane, involving a cyclist and a pedestrian.

At the time in the incident the cyclist, a 77-year-old man from Leeds, was heading from the A658 towards Kirkby Overblow.

The man, who has not been named, was taken to Leeds General Infirmary by air ambulance where he died a short time later.

The pedestrian, a 72-year-old man from Harrogate, was taken to HarrogateDistrict Hospital where he was treated before being released.

Traffic Sergeant Paul Cording, of the Force’s Roads Policing Group, said: “If you have any information which could help my enquiries I urge you to contact the police straight away.”

Woman found with head injury by Whitby steps

North Yorkshire Police have launched an inquiry after a 45-year-old woman was found early this morning suffering from serious head injuries on Henrietta Street in Whitby.

She has been airlifted to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, where her injuries are described as life-threatening.

The woman’s injuries are being treated as unexplained at this time and officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The area around the resort's 199 steps has been cordoned off while officers carry out their inquiries.


Man arrested after woman injured in collision

A man has been arrested in connection with a collision on Marfleet Lane in Hull last night which has left a woman critically ill in hospital.

The incident, involving a blue Volkswagen Golf and a 31-year-old female pedestrian, occurred outside the Marfleet Surgery on Marfleet Lane at approximately 4.45pm

The driver of the car then left the scene on foot. A 28 year old Hull man was arrested around 5am this morning on suspicion of leaving the scene of an accident and other motoring offences.

The injured woman was taken by ambulance to Hull Royal Infirmary where she is receiving treatment for multiple injuries. Her condition is described as critical.

Slim-downed student Tom hopes for big exam success

As students across our region anxiously await their A level results tomorrow, one teenager from Sheffield has more reason to be looking ahead than most.

Heading for sixth form college not only meant the chance of going to university for Thomas Lowson it also meant a chance to change his life forever.

Bullied and teased over his weight since childhood he'd ballooned to 24 stones. Now though in little over a year that has all changed. Martin Fisher has the story.

North Yorks gran helping fight deadly Ebola in Africa

A grandmother from North Yorkshire puts herself on the front-line of the fight against the Ebola outbreak that is engulfing Western Africa.

Cokie van de Velde, from Whixley, is an aid worker who has already been to both Liberia and Guinea supporting doctors as part of a team who are bravely battling to contain the deadly disease.

And despite the risk to her own safety, she is returning to Africa to try and save more lives as Gaynor Barnes reports.

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