Deafness is an issue particularly close to Rachel's heart, being the child of a parent who went deaf.
The British soap stars, best known for playing Mitzeee Minniver and Liam McAllister in the Channel 4 show, fended off competition from short films DeKalb Elementary, The Eleven O'Clock, My Nephew Emmett, Watu Wote/All Of Us at the glittering ceremony. She lives a silent life until a social worker, played by Shenton, teaches her how to communicate through sign language. Shenton stayed true to her word and signed her acceptance speech after making a promise to the lead actress, six-year-old Maisie Sly, even though she was shaking with nerves. Overton later told BBC 5 live: "When we won I could see her up there jumping up and down and that was surreal".
Following on from Rachel's acceptance speech, Chris praised Rachel for her efforts, saying the success of The Silent Child is all down to her.
She was among those who congratulated Rachel on her win, tweeting: "YAYAYAY!" Because I think that the greatest thing our art does and our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand.
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Shenton qualified as a sign-language interpreter at the age of 12 after learning the language when her father went deaf. She is an ambassador for the National Deaf Children's Society and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2013 in aid of the charity.
As Shenton comments, deafness is an invisible and non-life-threatening disability; consequently, it is often overlooked, leaving many children isolated from the rest of the world.
CHRIS OVERTON: for helping us finish the film.
"My mum and dad made the cupcakes and Rachel's mum and her mum's partner Nigel sold them at their work", he said.
The pair cast Maisie, who had never acted before, after a nationwide search involved advertising on the websites of deaf organisations.