AN INSPIRING deaf teacher won a national award for enriching the learning of her students.
Ayesha Gavin is profoundly deaf, but has always been able to talk so her lack of hearing was not discovered until she was four.
The mother-of-two from Weir, runs her own business Ayesha Communications and last year became the first person in Rossendale to offer students a degree equivalent in British Sign Language.
Her students nominated her for the Signature Annual Awards and Ayesha was honoured to be informed that she was a finalist in the enriching the student experience category.
She attended the prestigious award ceremony at Prospero House in London alone as her husband Mark was looking after their children Evie, eight, and Alex, who was celebrating his fifth birthday in their hotel.
Ayesha, 39, said: “They had live subtitling and an interpreter so I could read what they were saying on the stage.
“When they announced my category they described the person they were looking for I thought it wasn’t me so I stopped reading the subtitles and decided to have a drink of my Prosecco; I couldn’t hear what was being said.
“Then the man next to me grabbed my arm and began congratulating me, but I didn’t know why. I looked at the screen and saw my name on there and then people then began taking my photograph.
“There had only been one award before mine and the person had not been there to collect it so I didn’t know what to do.”
As Ayesha made her way to the stage people were congratulating her, but as the stage was so high she had to be helped up onto it in order to collect the glass trophy.
Not known for wearing dresses, Ayesha wore her wedding dress to the ceremony, a designer floor-length midnight blue gown she bought for £20 from a charity shop in 2001 when she was volunteering.
She said: “I can’t wear high heels because of rheumatoid arthritis and a problem with the bones in my feet, so I wore gold trainers, they were comfy; apparently it is supposed to be ‘on trend’.
“My NVQ internal verifier Pat Sands was also at the awards and she was very proud.”
The family spent the rest of the weekend in London visiting the Natural History Museum and South Bank Arts Centre and Ayesha got to meet up with an old university friend from her days in Derby Bron Jones, who lives in Essex.
Her students will finish their degree equivalent Level 6 course in August and she hopes to run further courses in the future.
In the long term Ayesha would like to work with babies and in nurseries as she believed British Sign Language should be a part of the National Curriculum.
She also would like to become a teacher of interpreters.
Ayesha added: “A part of me still can’t believe that I have won, it is so nice of my students to nominate me for this award.
“I don’t do this for awards though and it is not my main focus. I just want people to learn British Sign Language and use it as a form of communication and to understand deaf people better.”