Announcing the Superstars of the Signature Annual Awards 2017

The Superstars - Signature Annual Awards 2017
The Superstars - Signature Annual Awards 2017

Last week, Signature held its ninth Signature Annual Awards to celebrate the people who are making positive changes and putting others first to improve communication and experiences for deaf and deafblind people.

The Superstars - Signature Annual Awards 2017The theme for the evening was ‘Superstars’ – the 29 finalists and 8 winners of the night. They were especially hand picked from hundreds of nominations, for their dedication, resilience or initiative in order to make a positive change for others.

Lindsay Foster, executive director of Signature, said: “This year’s winners were selected by our judges from a very strong shortlist. Our winners deserve these celebrations because of their work to inspire other people to become their best. We are so proud to have handed these awards over to a bunch of incredible people who have achieved amazing things, for so many others. But it doesn’t stop there. While Signature continues to lead, educate and inspire, we know that all of our superstars will continue to do that too.”

The Superstars - Signature Annual Awards 2017
The Superstars – Signature Annual Awards 2017

Whilst most of the winners were chosen by Signature, the Community Spirit Award was chosen by the public. Lindsay explained: “Because of the work these fantastic groups do in their communities, it was only right that the communities were able to choose who should win”.

After hundreds of votes in a very tight race, Access Bedford was announced as the winner, for their work to improve health and social isolation in the Bedford Deaf community.

The final award of the evening, the Signature Lifetime Achievement Award, was handed to Terry Riley OBE, broadcaster and Chair of the British Deaf Association. Lindsay said: “Terry has dedicated his entire life both voluntary & professional as an advocate of the Deaf community and British Sign Language. He has worked and volunteered tirelessly to improve services for Deaf people since he was 15, led a fantastic career and has no intention of stopping. We can’t wait to see what he does next.”

Dr Terry Riley OBE - Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr Terry Riley OBE – Lifetime Achievement Award

Terry said: “It’s somewhat humbling to be in such great company of so many illustrious winners of this award. The night was not about me, but those tutors of BSL, they are the torch that gives inspiration to those embarking on interpreter training, teaching assistants, and many other walks of life. I will continue to open the doors but you build the bridges between two cultures, Deaf and hearing.”

The awards were hosted by news presenter and broadcaster Louise Minchin. Lindsay said: “Louise was a very professional and fitting person to host these awards for us. She has studied language and worked as a translator; she understands how opportunities can come from better, and more inclusive, communication.  Something she has in common with our finalists, is that she knows what it’s like to achieve goals through sheer determination, passion, and endless hard work. It was an honour to have her with us.”

Photos of the awards are now available to view – tap here.

The Superstars - Signature Annual Awards 2017

Read on for a full list of winners:

Supporting Education Award
Jane Simia – a proud and accomplished SLI who started her BSL journey to communicate with her foster child

Emerging Teacher Award
Lorna Forrester – a proud and dedicated BSL teacher with incredible excitement and passion for her role

Experienced Teacher Award
Debbie Jervis – who is providing local deafblind intervenors with high quality, effective BSL skills

Employee Champion Award
Max Buxton – for his campaign work to have BSL recognised in Functional Skills qualifications

Professional Contribution Award
Emma Caswell – for using her years of experience in teaching BSL to improve and maintain the quality of Signature’s qualifications

Leadership Award
Gerard Swan – the committed and passionate leader of the Certificate and Diploma in Deafblind Studies

Community Spirit Award (decided by public vote)
Access Bedford  – improving health and reducing social isolation in the Bedford deaf community

Signature Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr Terry Riley OBE


For more information contact Stephanie Ayre at Signature at