WATCH: Rachel Shenton fulfilled promise to deaf 6-year-old co-star by delivering Oscars speech in sign language
Former Hollyoaks star Rachel Shenton has been praised for making her Oscars acceptance speech in sign language.
The 30-year-old actress - who played Mitzeee Minniver in the Channel 4 soap from 2010 to 2013 - took home the Best Live Action Short Film accolade for 'The Silent Child', and made her speech in sign language after promising her six-year-old co-star Maisie Sly she would do so.
Speaking to the audience at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, she said: "I made a promise to our six-year-old lead actress that I would sign this speech but my hands are shaking a little bit, so I apologise.
"Our movie is about a deaf child being born into a world of silence, it’s not exaggerated or sensationalised for the movie, this is happening, millions of children all over the world live in silence and face communication barriers and access to education. "Deafness is a silent disability, it is not life threatening and you cannot see it so I want to say the biggest thank you to the Academy for allowing us to put this in front of a mainstream audience."
Rachel collected the award with her fiance and fellow former 'Hollyoaks' star Chris Overton, who directed the movie. The couple thanked their parents for helping fund the motion picture, and friends and fans who donated via Indiegogo to raise £10,000.
Hollyoaks stars were full of praise for Rachel, who wrote the film and played social worker Joanne.
The show tweeted: "Massive congrats to @RachelShenton for her #Oscars win! Everyone at #Hollyoaks & @LimePictures are immensely proud.
"@SilentChildFilm is an inspirational, beautiful story, and we send all our love for her very worthy win."
Several 'Hollyoaks' stars past and present praised Rachel and Chris -who played Liam McAllister in the soap - for their huge win. Anna Passey - who plays Sienna Blake - tweeted: "Wow, wow, wow...congratulations on the Oscar @RachelShenton"
Jorgie Porter (Theresa McQueen) wrote: "I’m absolutely soooooo bloody estastic !!!! Well done @RachelShenton and @overton54 on the greatest moment ever !!!!!!"
Danny Mac (Mark "Dodger" Savage) tweeted: "Never been so happy to see anyone WIN AN OSCAR!!!! @RachelShenton @overton54 @SilentChildFilm & all involved. It is beautiful. The BIGGEST CONGRATULATIONS!"
Speaking on ITV's 'This Morning', Rachel said: "We're just dying to go home ... there's loads of crew that can't be here that helped us with the movie, so it will be really nice to go home and show them. They were a huge part of why it was successful.
"We've said all along if it ends at the nomination stage we're so happy with that and then they read 'The Silent Child'. It's just so crazy, we still can't believe it now.
"We would love to extend this story, even a feature film or a longer drama, so hopefully it will help with that because it's a pretty decent concept I'd say."