Guest speaker at welcome dinner

Samantha Renke is an award-winning actress and disability campaigner.

She won best actress at the LA Diversity Film Festival for her debut role in Little Devil and featured in the ground-breaking Maltesers advert featuring disabled actors.

Samantha was born with the rare genetic condition Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type 3, more commonly known as brittle bone disease.

She is a full time wheelchair user, has undergone 10 operations (including complete spinal fusion) and has had an estimated 200 fractures stemming back from within the womb.

Samantha’s parents insisted on a fully inclusive and ‘normal’ upbringing and sent her to mainstream school. After university she became a secondary school teacher.

Fiercely independent, Samantha took the brave decision six years ago to leave her life in Blackburn behind and move to London.

The huge step was to pursue her dream career as an actress.

Samantha works tirelessly with leading disability charity SCOPE, is an ambassador for Parallel London and is Patron of Head to Head theatre company.

Samantha, who was born in Germany and raised in Leyland, Lancashire, is a regular media contributor and is working towards her dream of becoming a television presenter.