Annette Bird

‘I left school and worked in a bank for 12 years. Back then I had never met a deaf person! One day, a girl at work showed me the British Sign Language alphabet as part of an in-house training day – her uncle was deaf. I was amazed and hooked! After leaving the bank to look after my children, I enrolled in an evening course at a local college to study British Sign Language Level 1.

As a way to practise my skills, I joined a local Deaf club ‘The Basildon Friendship Centre for Deaf People’ and I have been a member ever since. It was started as a place for all deaf to meet and has always welcomed hearing people who want to practise their signing. The club evolved to be a BSL deaf group who met every Monday afternoon 12-3pm at the Basildon United Reformed Church, Whitmore Way, Basildon, Essex. Sadly the club shut 2017.

I finished BSL level 2 and the CSW course, I joined the Deaf Agency around 2001 and continued learning sign language and body language courses ever since!