An ‘inspirational’ woman who is paralysed from the neck down has spoken at Parliament about how technology at work has helped fulfil her potential.
Hannah Rose, who works at Cheshire Constabulary, was speaking at the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology.
The group is dedicated to innovative technology that helps people learn, live and communicate and was launched by Rt Hon John Bercow MP last week.
Hannah, aged 33, from Hartford, has been using specialist IT equipment since joining the police force more than seven years ago.
She said: “When I was 15 I had a virus which attacked my spinal cord and within a few days I was left paralysed from the neck down.
“I was at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for about 15 months but I was always determined to carry on with my studies and complete my GCSEs.
“After that I spent some time at the ACE Centre in Oldham as they help disabled people with specific technology and that is when I started using things like a specialist computer mouse which I operate with my head and specialist dictating equipment.
“I was able to complete my A Levels and a degree in crime studies and then I really wanted to get into work. I asked for work experience at Cheshire Police and that led to a work trial in HR.
“I brought in my specialist computer equipment and following on from that trial I got an interview for a role in the vetting office. That’s where I have now worked for the past seven years.
“I love working at the police and it’s amazing that I can have a job and contribute to society like any other person.
“The opportunities I have been given by Cheshire Police are amazing and I’m so grateful. They don’t see me any differently to any other employee and it’s a lovely place to work.
Hannah, who is also currently writing her second book about her experiences, travelled to London by train with her family to speak at the Parliamentary Group.
She added: “It was amazing to talk about my experiences and we are now trying to get the message out there that this sort of technology can be used in schools and to help other people into work.
“It was a really exciting day for me and my family were so proud. It meant so much to me.”
Cheshire Police disclosures and vetting manager Blair Wilson added: “I remember interviewing Hannah for her role within the disclosures and vetting unit and being impressed then with her enthusiasm.
“Initially we experienced some difficulty with the IT equipment due to its specialist nature but these have been overcome and Hannah has never let such issues daunt her enthusiasm.
“She is always cheerful and her work within the Constabulary means a great deal to her.
“Hannah loves her job and at times it has been difficult to get her to take her entitlement of leave which epitomizes her love for her work and her dedication to safeguarding the vulnerable.
“Hannah’s positive attitude and contribution to the department is a true inspiration to us all and we are fortunate to have her working with us.”