Windygates teen with hearing loss performs with Red Hot Chilli Pipers

A Windygates girl with hearing loss and anxiety has performed in front of a packed audience with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
Layla with the band. Photos by Kyle Howie.Layla with the band. Photos by Kyle Howie.
Layla with the band. Photos by Kyle Howie.

Teenager Layla Cooke uses her popular social media pages to teach people how to sign songs, including the Tom Walker hit ‘Leave a Light On’.

She shared the video with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who have performed the song with Walker, and Layla was invited to the Caird Hall in Dundee for a special performance.

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With her family watching, Layla did the sign language as the band did the song.

Pic by Kyle Howie.Pic by Kyle Howie.
Pic by Kyle Howie.

And the performance went down so well that Layla was asked to also join the Pipers when they perform later this month for two Dunfermline shows.

The Auchmuty High School pupil said she was “excited and nervous at the same time” when the group asked her to perform with them.

While she has done sign language for songs in front of an audience before, including at the Christmas lights switch on in Perth, this was the biggest crowd, with thousands watching in the Caird Hall.

“I’d not done anything as big as that,” said Layla.

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“You see the first 1000 people in the audience but the rest were in the dark. I thought ‘I need to do this’ and I focused on someone with a flashing headband.

“It was amazing. I got a standing ovation. I’ll be a lot calmer for the Dunfermline shows.”

Her mum, Suzy, added: “She did incredibly well. When she came off she was crying.

“The band were fantastic and made her at home. They were so nice and great with Layla.”

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As well as teaching others how to do British Sign Language (BSL) on social media, Layla also gives private lessons to people in similar situations to herself.

She also writes her own poems and signs basic words to help improve awareness of British Sign Language (BSL).

The 14-year-old is in the process of learning BSL level 2, and is starting a group at Fife College in February teaching people how to sign songs.

Layla, whose own hearing is continuing to deteriorate, started learning BSL in September 2018. She has previously said that she hopes more schools will start teaching BSL, to make it more inclusive.

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Last month, Layla won an award from Enable Scotland, recognising her achievements overcoming her own difficulties to help other people.

To find out more information and watch Layla’s videos, search for BSL Cooke on Facebook.

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