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 wheelchair user 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”.
Meanwhile, Former Spandau Ballet singer Tony Hadley received his MBE for charitable services to Shooting Star Chase Children’s Hospice Care.
Hadley said he was “really proud”, adding: “It’s such an honour. It was a bit of a shock to be honest.”
Reflecting on when he found out, Hadley, who is vice president of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, said: “I was like ‘wow’, I really didn’t expect it.”
Among others honoured at the ceremony was Olympic swimmer Freya Anderson who was made an MBE for services to swimming.
She said she was “very, very proud” and said the experience was “surreal”, adding: “I definitely did not expect this when I first started swimming.”
Anderson described it as a “massive honour”.
Veteran broadcaster Moira Stuart, who was the first African-Caribbean woman to read the news on British television, also picked up her gong after being made a CBE for services to media.