EastEnders fan given the chance of a new voice chooses a cockney accent

It's certainly one way for an aspiring actor to ensure they're in line for a part.

“I'd like to be in EastEnders,” Rose Brown giggles, when asked why she has chosen a cockney accent for her new voice.

Yes, you read that right. Rose really has just chosen a new voice.

And beyond giving her a potential route into her favourite soap of choice, the weight of poignancy behind that ground-breaking opportunity is immense for this young woman.

Rose, 20, was robbed of her voice aged 12 when a car ploughed into her and a group of friends as they walked home together in Ashford, Kent, in 2009.

Tragically, two were killed, while fun-loving Rose was left in a coma.

The driver, sentenced to ten years in jail, admitted causing death by dangerous driving, and pleaded guilty to drink driving.

Brain-damaged, Rose lost her ability to move as well as to speak, and has since communicated using a voice-assisted device which she can operate by moving her head or using a switch.

But she hated the anonymous, computerised sound of her words, and felt stripped of her identity. And so now, thanks to a new project which allows acting students to record themselves speaking, and through a specialised company, “donate their voices” to those in need of them like Rose, her machine now speaks with a recognisable human voice.

And yes, with a cockney accent, just as she requested.

Smiling broadly, she explains what it means to her.

"This is important so that I have my own identity, to be back how I was as much as possible,” she says.

“I think it will show people I am an individual – and that I'm friendly and fun!

“It makes me feel like me, and represents my personality.”

It is hard to imagine how it feels to no longer be able to represent yourself in the world with your own unique voice.

Most of us take for granted just how much the sound of our words impact on those around us, and are connected to how others perceive us.

Our voices generally encapsulate our sex and rough age, and give people a sense of our characters.

Beyond what we are actually saying, they allow us to express ourselves as uniquely us.

Importantly for Rose, they often also give a broad clue as to where we're from geographically. And as well as giving her a chance to star in EastEnders, her new voice allows her to sound like her family, again. She is once more, part of a tribe.

The woman to donate it to her is Tash Cowley, a drama student whose voice Rose chose from a large data base.

Acting school RADA and National Star, which provides specialist further education, training, personal development and residential services for people with disabilities and acquired brain injuries, have launched a long-term relationship to enable RADA students to be voice donors for the National Star students who want a new voice.

Rose is the first to be given the chance out of the 22% of National Star students who use a communication device like her.

Tash recorded hundreds of phrases over two days which together make up all the human voice's different combinations of sounds.

These recorded phrases are then sent to a US company which creates a fully functional voice that can be programmed to a voice-assisted device.

“Everyone deserves a right to speak, a voice” says Tash, visibly moved by the process of gifting her voice.

“To be able to give that to someone is amazing.”

Meanwhile Rose, who heard her new voice for the first time this month, is initially moved beyond words.

She has spent eight years without her signature sound.

Finally, she explains how she feels.

“It sounds like me, before," she says.

– Watch Rose's story on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC Two on Tuesday July 16

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