Blue Peter announces wheelchair racer Abby Cook as new presenter

abby cook, blue peter
Blue Peter announces Abby Cook as newest presenterBBC

Wheelchair racer Abby Cook has been announced as children's programme Blue Peter's 42nd presenter.

Forth Valley Flyers member Abby will co-host alongside Mwaksy, Joel and Henry the dog, with her first live show airing on March 10.

"I was speechless when I found out," the athlete, who trains twice a week with Paralympians as part of her Forth Valley Flyers commitments, said in a statement.

"I had to check it was true, it was a very emotional moment knowing I would actually be presenting a show I love and had grown up with."

abby cook, blue peter

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Having debuted in 1958 and still going strong, Blue Peter is the longest-running children's show in the world. Cook admitted being particularly impressed by 36th presenter Lindsey Russell, who first hosted the show in 2013.

"Helen [Skelton] and Barney [Harwood] were my era, but I also became obsessed with watching 'You Decide' when the public got to choose the latest presenter and they picked Lindsey," she continued.

"I remember thinking what a great role model she was, she had never presented before but here was this strong woman going on the show and doing an amazing job.

"I'm hoping to do the same because I know what a lasting impression the presenters can have on the audience."

Related: Blue Peter star Simon Thomas reveals he is expecting baby with wife Derrina

For her first challenge, Cook will overcome her fear of heights by abseiling down Millers Dale Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

"When Abby came to the studio, we knew she would be great for the show because she has an unstoppable 'can do' attitude," Blue Peter editor Ellen Evans said.

"She's up for any challenge and we know she'll connect beautifully with our audience because she has a real affinity for working with young people, but she also has the biggest of hearts."

Blue Peter airs on CBBC every Friday at 5pm and is available on BBC iPlayer.

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