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Ruth Madeley's Story

To mark our 30th anniversary, we’re releasing 30 stories from wheelchair users across our history.

This ambitious and historic project will result in stories being archived as part of the The British Library Sound Archives ensuring that the life experiences of wheelchair users today are captured forever..With thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The British Library for their support.

From studying for GCSEs in hospital to celebrating success at the BAFTAs, Ruth Madeley shares the challenges and achievements in her life and career in this exclusive interview. 

Receiving a bright pink Whizz-Kidz wheelchair at 5 years old changed Ruth’s life, “I was like Barbie on wheels - it was great!” And she credits the Kidz Board for helping build skills and confidence that enabled her to make so much of the opportunities she had. 

Ruth’s first TV role came as a direct result of being a wheelchair user. She now aims to change representation of disability on screen. “I grew up never seeing anybody who looked like me on TV. You’re either inspiration or you’re pity - there’s no middle ground - so I’m in a position now to hopefully change that narrative.”

For more on this topic, see our article on representation for wheelchair users. If someone you care for might benefit from new experiences or a confidence boost, read more about opportunities to join our Kidz Board.

Listen to more interviews with wheelchair users we have supported since 1990 as part of our ’30 Years, 30 Stories project’