MS sufferer wins national award

26 November 2010, 05:49 | Updated: 26 November 2010, 05:55

A woman has defied multiple sclerosis by winning a national award for a business she set up from her own home.

41 year old Vanessa Haywood, from Radlett, is the creator behind Tiny Mites Music which is a programme of interactive music sessions for young children in school.

Vanessa was diagnosed with MS when she was 26 years old and was forced to give up her career as an actress, singer and dancer because of her condition.

But Vanessa says she won’t let it bring her down:

“I’m passionate about being someone that people can look at and say ‘well she’s been ill, she’s go MS’. It’s not a death sentence, I can live my life, I can be a single mother and I can have a business and have MS.”

Tiny Mites Music is played at schools, nurseries, day care centres and holiday camps across the country:

“All of the songs have got something in them, either linking to their imaginative life or their learning – so it might be songs about county, it might be a song about driving in a car, and there are other songs about how they relate to one another, so it’s also a social thing”, she told Heart.

Last night, the mother-of-two picked up the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs. She picked up £50,000 prize at the ceremony in London, which Vanessa said will go towards expending her company.

The competition is now in its fourth year. In partnership with the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability the award is sponsored by easyGroup Chairman Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou through the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation.

To hear one of the songs from the Tiny Mites Music, Floating Bubble, click here.

For more information on Vanessa go to