Disabled EastEnders star, Lisa Hammond, has slammed supermarket trolls for questioning the severity of her disability.
Lisa says she has been regularly abused by strangers in supermarkets, after being filmed stood up from her wheelchair in unforgettable scenes for the legendary soap.
Speaking to the Daily Star Sunday, the 37-year-old wheelchair user says constant pain means she needs a wheelchair to remain mobile.
But despite her obvious frailties, Lisa says people have thrown abuse at her and questioned why she needs a wheelchair when she has been filmed standing up.
Lisa told the Daily Star Sunday: “The main image of wheelchair users is that of paralysis. So when I get out of my chair to do a scene on my feet – and that all depends on how I’m feeling – people don’t like it.
“If I’m feeling good and want to walk in that scene, I will.
“But if I can’t or pain levels are bad then I’ll use my chair. I’ve been shouted at. I’ve had people say, ‘Oi, why are you in a chair when you were walking on EastEnders last night?’.
Lisa said the abuse she has been subjected to started long before she began appearing on EastEnders.
“This isn’t just to do with EastEnders, it’s been happening since before then.
“I’ve been shouted at in a supermarket for being in my chair even though I can walk.”
The 4ft 1in star, who viewers will soon see in raunchy scenes with Arthur “Fatboy” Chubb, says she tries to “laugh off” hurtful comments, but added they sometimes leave her “in shock and disbelief”.
“My size isn’t a problem but the pain is hard. I always push through. I’m so used to it now that I manage it quite well on my own.
“It’s tough sometimes, especially when the drugs aren’t working or when I’m over-tired. But I try to plan it. I tend to do long shooting days and then nothing.”
“It makes me sad that people can have such closed minds.
“People always think I’m this feisty girl and I can hold my own but in those moments you just don’t think of anything to say. It’s shock and disbelief. I have to laugh it off.”
According to the Daily Star, the BBC One show wasn’t specifically looking for a disabled person for Lisa’s character. But she was awarded the role following a convincing audition.
Now Lisa, who plays the outspoken and feisty character Donna Yates, will be seen romantically engaged with co-star Ricky Norwood – who plays Arthur “Fatboy” Chubb.
She said: “It was a bit nerve-racking at first. It was all a bit weird having to kiss a mate but that’s acting for you.
“I love how Donna is out there with her sexuality. Just because you’re in a chair doesn’t mean you’re not having fun.
“People think you don’t have the same desires as everyone else but, of course, you do.”