Northern Ireland

Model Kate Grant 'amazed' by honour from Queen

Kate Grant in 2017 Image copyright Deirdre Grant
Image caption In 2017, Kate Grant became Belfast Fashion Week's first model with Down's syndrome

A County Tyrone model, who strives to challenge preconceptions about Down's syndrome, has said she was "amazed" to receive an award from the Queen.

Kate Grant from Cookstown, who is 21, was recognised for her achievements in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

At 19, she broke barriers by becoming the first model with Down's syndrome to take part in Belfast Fashion Week.

She has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for "services to the community in Cookstown".

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's Sunday News programme, Ms Grant said she was "so, so excited" when she received her letter informing her of the medal.

'Busting with pride'

She added that she believed she had been recognised for raising "awareness of people with special needs".

"My parents and myself are so proud of me," Ms Grant added.

"I want to continue to raise awareness through my modelling."

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Media captionKate Grant's modelling dream came true in Belfast Fashion Week 2017

Ms Grant has been supported in her career by her mother, Deirdre, who has helped the young model to challenge perceptions of beauty and disability.

Deirdre Grant told the Sunday News that she and her husband were "just busting with pride for our daughter Kate".

"Whether you have Down's syndrome or not, if you have a belief and if you work hard, have determination and have a dream, things are achievable in life.

"So that's just Kate's motto - she worked hard, she was very determined, she believed in herself, she knew where she wanted to go," Mrs Grant said.

"And with that, she knew that she was representing the population with special needs and disabilities, and that drove her forward and made her stronger."

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