Tara’s sign of success

A teenager with strong links to the county has lifted a prestigious British award for her work on sign language.

A teenager with strong links to the county has lifted a prestigious British award for her work on sign language.

Sixteen-year-old Tara Forkin, who lives in Peterborough, but whose dad John is from Ballyshannon and mum Fiona is from Falcarragh, is one of the youngest people ever to achieve a British Sign Language (BSL) qualification and her feat was honoured at the 2011 Signature Annual Awards in London recently.

Tara has been studying signing since she was 13 and in just two years she gained her Level 1, 2 and 3 NVQ certificates in BSL handswork.

It normally takes between three and four years to gain all three levels.

Tara is a regular visitor back to Donegal to visit her grandparents, friends and family in both ends of the county.

Speaking after the event mum Fiona said: “It was an amazing opportunity for us to go to the awards ceremony and we are so proud of Tara for winning. She was really shocked when her name was read out and she also had the longest walk to the stage as we were sat near the back of the room. Everyone was really pleased that she won.”

Tara had a cochlear implant when she was three-years-old so she does have a sense of sound, but to gain the qualifications she had to prove she could converse clearly using sign language with other profoundly deaf people.

Her tutor, Paul-Michael Coldham said: “No young learner more so than Tara has shown the commitment and dedication in completing such a hard course.”