Coronation Street actress Cherylee Houston has said disabled young people need to see role models on television as she picked up her MBE at Buckingham Palace.
The star, who was the first actor to use a wheelchair among the cast of the ITV soap, has played Izzy Armstrong for 12 years.
She was made an MBE for services to drama and to people with disabilities and received her gong from the Princess Royal at a ceremony on Thursday.
Asked how important it is for viewers to see disabled people on prime time television programmes, she said:
"If you think when you were growing up who your role models were, who influenced you, if you as a disabled child don’t have that, how do you know what you can do?"
She said role models are needed so that every disabled young person can live to their full potential.
Houston said the last decade has been difficult for disabled people, but she expressed fears for the future too.
She said the cost of living crisis will have a massive impact on disabled people.
"But that’s why I firmly believe the more we’re on our screens, the more we’re going to be understood, the more people care and empathise and will ensure that we will have equal rights and equal opportunity, because it’s about equality," she said, adding that "it would be nice if the world was a bit more physically accessible".
She has long campaigned for greater representation of disabled people on TV and films and says when that happens, 'there will be more ramps on the high street and more accessiblity'.
Along with fellow actor Melissa Johns she has set up the influential Disabled Artists Networking Community, (DANC) which has a data base for disabled creatives.
It is a community of just under a thousand disabled artists working in TV and the arts.
DANC brings together disabled professional and key decision or change makers in the industry to improve representation.
Earlier this year they were awarded a BAFTA craft award and set the industry a challenge to show a disabled actors in every series.
For the past three years DANC and Triple C have produced a Christmas advert showcasing disabled actors and challenging the advertising industry to follow their lead.
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