Student scoops national award

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An inspirational young woman who is severely visually impaired has won a national award.

Kimberley Burrows, a first year BA (Hons) Illustration student at Leeds College of Art, was presented with the Life Changing Partnership Award at this year’s national Guide Dogs Annual Awards.

The 28-year-old student has just a small window of vision in one eye but this has not stopped her from moving from her home in Manchester to study in Leeds and pursue her dream of becoming an illustrator.

Kimberley joined Leeds College of Art on the Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art & Design), which led to her successfully gaining a place as a BA (Hons) Illustration student.

She completed her training with her guide dog Tami in late 2014, and credits Tami with enabling her to make the brave decision to move to Leeds.

Kimberley said: “Words cannot describe how honoured I am. It feels like such a celebration of the exhaustive journey I’ve had over the past four years; finally coming to terms with my severe sight impairment and taking steps to battle my social anxiety, learning to read Braille and use accessible technology, cook and prepare food safely and use a cane for a better sense of mobility.

“Along the way I rediscovered my love of illustrating and, even though the process is very difficult for me with such a small amount of sight, I find it so rewarding. Tami came into my life and catapulted the change I needed to finally be the confident and independent person I am today.”

The award was presented by Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, to Kimberley at a ceremony in London hosted by This Morning’s Dr Ranj Singh and Dr Zoe Williams.