Learning Disabilities & Autism News

Chelsee Healey, Jorgie Porter and Jessica Fox among stars backing celebrity ‘Push to the Peak’ challenge for learning disability

Emily Burnett, Teresa, and James Sutton. Image courtesy of Mark Kidsley

Hollyoaks stars share video messages for co-star Emily Burnett and her aunt Teresa Pope, who has a learning disability, as they prepare to scale Snowdon this weekend in aid of Mencap and Sunday Circle 

Hollyoaks stars including Chelsee Healey, Jorgie Porter and Jessica Fox have recorded video messages of support and encouragement for their co-star, BAFTA-winner Emily Burnett, as she prepares to ‘Push to the Peak’ and climb Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) this weekend alongside a host of celebrities in aid of learning disability charities Mencap and Sunday Circle. 

Mencap ambassador Emily, who plays Olivia Bradshaw in the Channel 4 soap, and her aunt Teresa who has a learning disability, have received star-studded well-wishes from Chelsee (Goldie McQueen), Jorgie (Theresa McQueen) and Jessica (Nancy Osborne), as well as Harvey Virdi (Misbah Maalik), Anna Passey (Sienna Blake), Jessamy Stoddart (Liberty Savage), Malique Thompson-Dwyer (Prince McQueen), Niamh Blackshaw (Juliet Nightingale), Garcia Brown (Zoe Anderson) and Angus Castle-Doughty (Eric Foster), ahead of their Snowdon summit this Sunday 28th August.  

Climbing Mount Snowdon is a lifelong dream for Emily’s aunt Teresa Pope, 58, who is determined to show what people with a learning disability are capable of and climb the mountain ahead of her 60th birthday. The mountain in the Snowdonia National Park in Wales is the highest in England and Wales with a 1085m ascent to reach the summit. Teresa has been training with a personal trainer for four months to prepare for the challenge and all money raised will go towards Mencap and Sunday Circle’s vital work supporting the 1.5 million people living with a learning disability in the UK.  

Joining Emily and Teresa on the trek this weekend are Emily’s Hollyoaks co-stars, James Sutton (John-Paul McQueen), Eva O’Hara (Verity Hutchinson), Gabriel Clark (Ollie Morgan) and Connor Calland (Jordan Price). Also, actors Mia McKenna-Bruce (Netflix’s Persuasion), Tom Leach and TikTok star Monica Geldart.  

Mencap ambassador Emily, who plays Olivia Bradshaw in the Channel 4 soap said: “I’m so excited that the trek is almost here. It’s going to be an amazing experience for Teresa to achieve her dream of climbing Snowdon and I’m so proud to be raising money for Mencap and Sunday Circle, so we can help others with a learning disability. We’re so incredibly grateful for everyone’s support and to everyone who’s donated. Thanks to the incredible people that are taking part in the challenge with us and to all my Hollyoaks friends and extended McQueen family for their inspiring messages. It means the world to me and Teresa and everyone doing the Push to the Peak challenge.” 

Championing the Push to the Peak team are the legendary McQueen family from Hollyoaks, who were recently nominated for Best Family at the British Soap Awards 2022. They have shared the following words of encouragement: 

Chelsee Healey, who plays Goldie McQueen said: “I just want to say a massive good luck Teresa. You are amazing. A real inspiration. You are going to smash Snowdon. Good luck to Emily and everyone else. Go get it T!”  

Jorgie Porter, who plays Theresa McQueen said: “Hi Teresa and everyone climbing up Snowdon on Sunday – fantastic work and I am so excited for you guys. Good luck, you’re going to be great and I can’t wait to hear all about it.” 

Malique Thompson-Dwyer, who plays Emily’s on-screen fiancé Prince McQueen said: “Hi Teresa, I hope you’re well. I just wanted to wish you all the best for your climb this weekend. I wish I could be there to witness this amazing moment but I wanted to wish you all the best and lots of love from the Hollyoaks people and lots of love from me and smash it!”   

Other fan favourites have also wished the team good luck: 

Jessica Fox, who plays Nancy Osborne said: “This is a message of support and well wishes for Emily and Teresa and the rest of the gang who are ‘pushing to the peak’ this weekend. I have seen some of Teresa’s training videos and they are so inspiring, and I think this is an amazing cause for Mencap. I want to wish you all luck and hope the weather is dry and if you do get wet, I hope you dance in the rain. Have the best time.”  

Harvey Virdi, who plays doctor Misbah Maalik and recently won Best Storyline at The British Soap Awards 2022 said: “Hi Teresa, I just want to wish you all the best for your ‘push to the peak’ of Snowdon this weekend. I know you’ll have an amazing time, and I can’t wait to hear all about it. Good luck, have fun and I’m sending you all my love.” 

In a group message, Jessamy Stoddart (Liberty Savage), joined by Anna Passey (Sienna Blake), Matthew James-Bailey (Ethan Williams) and Jacob Roberts (Damon Kinsella) said: “Hi Teresa, we just want to wish you all the luck and love in the world for your ‘Push to the Peak’.” 

Niamh Blackshaw (Juliet Nightingale), joined by Ruby O’Donnell (Peri Lomax), Ashling O’Shea (Nadira Valli) and Lily Best (Lizzie Chen-Williams) said“We just want to wish good luck to Teresa and everyone else that’s ‘pushing to the peak’. Good luck!” 

Garcia Brown, (who plays PC Zoe Anderson) said: “I wanted to wish Teresa all the best of luck in climbing Snowdon this coming Sunday. I know you and the gang will have the best time. Sending you love and well wishes.” 

Angus Castle-Doughty, (Eric Foster) said: “I just want to wish Teresa and all the gang and all my friends the very best of luck for their hike this coming Sunday for Mencap.” 

All sponsorship proceeds from the Push to the Peak challenge will be split between Mencap and Sunday Circle, a local learning disability organisation based in Wales.  

To donate to Emily and Teresa’s Push to the Peak challenge, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emilyandteresa  

For news on Push to the Peak, please visit:  https://www.mencap.org.uk/event/pushtopeak 


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