JILL Dando News has welcomed a new disabilities correspondent and general reporter to their ranks.

21-year-old Ellise Haywood, from Somerset, first met Jill Dando News reporters  after they covered her story while at Priory Community School Academy, part of The Priory Learning Trust in Weston-super-Mare. 

Now, Ellise will be finding her own positive news stories from around the world. These will be published in The Good News Post newspaper.

Ellise said: “I’m delighted to announce that I’m going to be a correspondent for people with disabilities as well as joining the team of reporters at Jill Dando News! This is a dream come true for me! I can’t wait to join the team and work with some amazing people!”

Ellise was born with cerebral palsy, and uses a high-tech Eye-Gaze technology to speak.

Her story has motivated people across the globe, and she now visits schools and other locations to share her positive message.

Gregg Morrison, Ellise's old headteacher at Preston School, said: “To be honest, I don’t think there is a speaker in the world who is better placed to motivate than Ellise. She thrived at school, was loved by everyone, and has enthusiasm to match the most passionate of people.

“She lets nothing hold her back, and her refreshing message of hope and optimism is one we all need to hear, especially in these days where there is so much bad news everywhere.”

The Jill Dando News Centre started life in 2017 at Jill's former school, Worle. The idea has since branched off and now dozens of schools across the country, and in Africa, have news centres in the former reporter's name.

Weston born Jill Dando began her journalistic career at the Mercury as a trainee reporter in the 1980s before she quickly became noticed by the BBC, becoming the broadcaster's 'golden girl of TV'.

She followed in the footsteps of her father and brother Nigel, who also worked at the Mercury and BBC.

In 1999, at the age of 37, she was brutally murdered on her doorstep. 

Part of Jill's legacy lives on through Jill Dando News. The aim is to give youngsters the chance to tell positive stories about their peers, boosting literacy skills and teach them about journalism.