The number of people who are interest in learning sign language in the county has risen, thanks to Strictly Come Dancing.

The talent show reaches its climax at the weekend with the grand final.

And one of the acts still in the competition, Rose Ayling-Ellis, became the show’s first ever deaf contestant and has been wowing judges and audiences alike with her routines with dancing partner, Giovanni Pernice.

One performance by the Eastenders actress and her professional colleague paid tribute to the deaf community. Halfway through the routine, the music turned to muffled noise and silence, as the pair danced on. The piece was highly regarded by the judges, with Anton Du Beke calling it the greatest thing he had ever seen on the show and head judge, Shirley Ballas saying that the number ‘will be etched in my heart for a long time'.

It is believed around one in six people in the UK has some form of hearing loss. Discussing the increase in interest, Cumbria Deaf Association’s general manager, Caroline Howsley, said: “We are glad to see how Rose has become a household name and she is encouraging people to think about the opportunities that are available to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, with the right support.

"Anything that helps promote a positive conversation and raises awareness of how there are ways of including the deaf community in all walks of life are to be applauded.”

When asked if the organisation had seen a rise in interest, Caroline continued: “Cumbria Deaf Association has seen a marked rise in interest in sign language courses. We usually average six to seven per month, but in recent months it has been an average of 25, rising to 37 in one month.

“Introduction to BSL classes are very popular but are akin to taking conversational Spanish before a holiday – they give the basics, but not a deeper understanding of the rich history and heritage behind BSL and deaf culture.

“Since September, CDA has seen an increase in professional bodies, arts and tourism venues contacting us to deliver deaf awareness training to enable them better support their deaf and hard of hearing clients.”