DEAF entrepreneur Ruthy Fletcher has received a top accolade at a national awards ceremony.

Miss Fletcher won the Outstanding Contribution title at the Deaf Business Academy Awards.

The Bolton businesswoman was also runner-up in the Outstanding Development category in the ceremony held at the University of Liverpool.

She said she was “absolutely delighted” and “thrilled” to have won the two awards.

Horwich-based Miss Fletcher started her business - Support the Deaf People - in 2012 after noticing a gap in the market following a visit to a hotel.

During her stay she was left unaware that the fire alarms were going off, until a fireman came to her room to help her out of the building.

In turn Miss Fletcher launched her business to train hotel staff and make them aware of different ways of communicating with deaf people.

She said: “My aim is to educate hoteliers in providing appropriate access and a safe environment for their guests whom have a hearing loss.

“Throughout the training, I teach basic signs, which are fitting for a hotel establishment, enabling staff to communicate effectively and confidently with their deaf guests.”

She added: “The health and safety aspects that surround a person with a hearing loss are very rarely discussed but with a little foresight and assistance these can be resolved.

“I demonstrate equipment that is available to assist with resolving these issues. There are a range of methods in which people can communicate with deaf and hard of hearing people; I explain the different types of deafness, along with the appropriate communication method for each type of hearing loss.”

Modest Miss Fletcher, whose work takes her all over the country, did not even have a speech prepared when she attended the awards ceremony.

But afterwards she said: “I would like to thank every single person who voted for me, it means so much.

“To all the hotels I have worked with over the last few years, I am so grateful that you wanted to improve your knowledge and access for the deaf community and above all, ensure the safety of all deaf guests. Well done to you too!”