THE newest Observer blogger, Charlotte Piper, plans to write from her own experience of being a disabled twenty-something, but hopes to appeal to a wide audience.
The 24-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, is one of the Piper quads, for a time the youngest surviving quads in the world, making headlines for being born 13 weeks early.
Charlotte who lives in Western Road, St Leonards, is a keen writer and blogger, who has almost completed her first novel, while sister Georgina is mother to a three-year-old son Elliot and runs a successful photography business locally, while Frankie now lives in Brighton.
The three girls are still known as the Piper quads, though their brother Ollie died of cot death while a baby.
Charlotte credits her supportive family with her having such a positive outlook, and is keen to be a role model for other young disabled people.
Describing herself as strong-willed and very independent, she said: “There is no disabled person in the public eye, that’s what I want to be.
“I can say it’s not all bad. I’d like to show them you can make something out of your life if you want to.”
She will be writing fortnightly, and her blog ‘That’s Chaz’ will appear from today (Friday), on the Observer website.
She plans to write on topics such as disabled access, dating, and fashion, and her style is decidedly tongue-in-cheek.
Charlotte studied theatre at university in Derby, but now however, her passion is writing, and she said: “I’d like to be a bestselling author, but on a more realistic level, I would like to be known for my writing.”
Her book Roll On is in two parts, and is fiction but based on her own experiences of college. Part one is almost finished and Charlotte is keen to find a publisher.
There is much talk of how the Paralympics has made the general public view disabled people in a new light. Charlotte said that on a recent trip to London with her boyfriend Taylor Leigh, who also uses a wheelchair, the pair received attention of a different kind.
“People stare anyway,” she said.
“But so many people stopped us because they thought we were Paralympians.”
She is sceptical of whether there will be a long-term shift in attitudes towards disability, but has herself been inspired to take up handcycling.
Read her blog online at www.hastingsobserver.co.uk.