A WOMAN registered as blind since birth who has launched her own business as a celebrant is hoping to inspire others with the message that "disability does not need to be a barrier to success".

Abby Hollywood, from Leigh, was in the process of setting up her business as the first coronavirus lockdown hit the country last year.

Abby, 37, works as an independent celebrant which means she is qualified to conduct non-religious funeral, naming, wedding, memorial and other ceremonies.

She has shown resilience to overcome the difficulties of setting up the business during the pandemic, also exacerbated by the extra barriers her disability has placed on her.

But Abby, who is a braille user, hopes her success in launching Your Special Day Your Way will inspire others.

She said: "I want to give a positive message to the community, to show that obstacles can be overcome, that disability does not need to be a barrier to success.

"Though it is important to me to set up my business and be independent, it is also important to me to do something worthwhile that gives something back to my community, which is one of the main reasons I chose celebrancy."

Abby says he was first inspired to go into the profession by the work of other celebrants after attending funerals.

"A couple of years ago I was unlucky enough to go to three funerals and they were all run by celebrants.

"One of them, I was there as moral support for a friend and I walked out after the ceremony and said 'I feel like I really know her now' and my regret was I hadn't had the chance to meet her.

"That was because of the way the celebrant told her story and thought maybe this is something I can do so I looked into it."

She gained her qualifications and started the business but it was only ready to launch last May, while lockdown was still in place.

"It has been an interesting first 10 months so far," she added.

"A funeral is the last thing people can do for the person they lost, they want it to be right. My job is to help them tell the story of that person."