Fife teen signs with River City cast

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A Windygates teenager, who runs her own course and social media channels on how to do sign language, has joined the cast of her favourite TV show.

During the lockdown, the cast of BBC’s River City have been reading stories for children on its social media pages – and Layla Cooke (14) has signed along on several of the videos, allowing those with hearing difficulties to enjoy the stories as well.

Layla, a huge fan of the show who watches every week, jumped at the chance to work with the cast when asked.

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“I am lucky and honoured to be asked – it keeps me busy,” she said.

It is not the first time Layla has worked with celebrities, having taught singer Lewis Capaldi how to sign ‘Happy Birthday’ and performed with the Red Hot Chili Pipers on several occasions last year.

She was also sent a thank you message by Gail Porter last week for teaching her how to sign ‘Lean on Me’.

Layla is in contact with some of the cast and was asked by star Leah MacRae, who plays Ellie McLean, to provided sign language for the videos. The Auchmuty pupil has signed on several videos, including the Turtle and the Spider and the Selfish Giant.

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She is a big fan of the show and visited the studio last year, and is “gutted” at the prospect that there could be a break in the show because of Covid-19 affecting filming.

“Layla wants to be on River City,” explained mum, Suzy. “That’s her dream.”

Despite lockdown, Layla has continued to keep busy.

Earlier this year she started running a course at Fife College teaching students British Sign Language (BSL).

She has also won awards for her work teaching people how BSL, whether privately on through her social media pages, where she uploads videos of her signing popular songs.

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“I’ve got a studio in the back garden, so I’m still able to do the videos,” Layla said.

“She’s crazy busy,” added Suzy.

Unfortunately, Layla, who has hearing difficulties, will have to wait to find out if she will be a winner at the Young Scot Awards, where she was up for the Enhancing Education gong for her work promoting BSL in schools and encouraging other young people to speak about their issues.

She has also been asked to do some work with the Young Scot organisation.

To keep up-to-date with Layla and see her latest videos, visit her Facebook page, by searching for BSL Cooke, or Twitter page – www.twitter.com/bslcooke.

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