A FORMER John Masefield High School student, Coronation Street star Melissa Johns, will be honoured in India this November, where she will be named as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World.

The global JCI organisation, giving the award, has formal links with both the United Nations and UNESCO.

The news has been warmly welcomed by her former school, with headteacher Andrew Evans saying he was following Miss John's acting career with great interest, and he added: "It has been wonderful to see Melissa's skill as an actress develop and see her national recognition on stage and television.

"Her work inspiring young people in a similar position to herself to gain confidence, make the most of their abilities and succeed is inspirational, so all of us at the John Masefield High School are tremendously proud of Melissa."

Miss Johns, aged 28, was born with her right hand and part of her right arm missing.

She was chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) organisation for her "Contribution to Children, World Peace and/or Human Rights".

The citation reads: "Despite being born with only one arm, from a young age Melissa Johns was driven to be an actor. Overcoming many barriers to succeed in her chosen field, Johns has dedicated herself as an ambassador for individuals just like her.

"After working in a children’s ward at The Royal Free Hospital School in London, she discovered her ability to relate to and encourage young people facing the same self-doubt she once did. This discovery led her to launch the Quite Frankly Theater and co-found the TripleC organization that uses theater- and drama-based workshops to create diverse opportunities for young performers.

"Dedicated to overcoming the taboo of being disabled and in the limelight, she has started conversations and utilized her experiences to be a community advocate for equality."

The award ceremony will take place at the JCI world congress in Goa, India at the beginning of November.

Last year, Miss Johns was selected as one of JCI's Ten Outstanding Young People for the UK, but the World award is one step up from that.

Miss Johns said: "This is for my work in changing perceptions of disability and working towards equality of disability in the world and especially in the arts."

But Miss Johns is no stranger to major awards.

She was recently shortlisted for the Positive Role Model of the Year, through the National Diversity Awards.

And she has been selected as one of the UK's Shaw Trust Power list, which is a annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK.

Miss Johns said her experience of growing up in Ledbury had played an important part of her success and confidence.

She said: "I love my hometown. It has obviously played a huge part in my up bringing, and therefore my achievements so far."

Miss Johns is a professional actor and trained at East 15 acting school on the contemporary theatre course.

During her time at East 15, she was the first person on her course and one the first actors with a physical disability to win the Laurence Olivier bursary award.

She works in both TV and theatre and last year was cast as new character Imogen Pascoe in Coronation Street.

Since graduating, she has played a variety of roles in TV shows such as The Interceptor, SILK, Casualty, Doctors.

Melissa is currently playing Emilia in Lyric Hammersmith/HOME's production of OthelloMacbeth.

Sadly, her considerable West End commitments mean she will be unable to attend the award ceremony in India, in person.

The global Junior Chamber International is an international organization for young people between 18 and 40 years old.

It has members in 124 countries and has consultative status with the Council of Europe, with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and with UNESCO.