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Quite a determined, feisty girl is Cerrie, but she says her self-assuredness and thick skin are part nature, part learned. Were other children at school ever mean to her when she was a child?
'When you are not used to seeing normal people, let alone disabled people, then anyone like me is going to create a stir.For the first nine years of her life, Cerrie Burnell was made - on the advice of doctors - to wear a prosthetic limb.Born with no right hand, it was thought a false arm would help her look more 'normal', fit in with her peers and avoid the rude stares and cruel taunts such a disability might provoke.For them, things have moved on greatly, but disabled people are still struggling to fight prejudice every day.'I am absolutely confident that I was given this job on my abilities alone.I think it's really time to start changing perceptions.' And Cerrie is more than happy to be the person to try to do just that.
Born in Kent, the elder child of a teacher and a manager, Cerrie says it was just a 'lucky coincidence' being born without her right hand. For the first ten years of her life she grew up in Petts Wood, before the family moved farther into Kent and then, when she was 12, to Eastbourne in East Sussex.
'My boss came up to me and said: "Some people have written some messages about you which you may or may not want to read." Cerrie Burnell presenting on CBeebies: 'I was absolutely confident that I was given this job on my abilities alone' she says 'I looked at a few of them, but I haven't read any since.
I just thought: "This is to be expected." This is the kind of discrimination disabled people face every day of their lives.
(It is) positive discrimination in my book.' The BBC received nine formal complaints, but the CBeebies website was buzzing with comments, some so vicious they had to be taken down.
One person suggested that it wouldn't be quite so bad if Cerrie could just pull down her cardigan sleeve a bit so viewers wouldn't have to see her stump.
So you can imagine Cerrie's absolute delight - and surprise - when she beat three other shortlisted candidates, all able-bodied, to win her 'dream' job as a presenter on the children's television channel CBeebies. Some parents complained that Cerrie was 'scaring' children and that they were being forced to discuss difficult issues with their young children before they were ready.