A STUDENT in Hereford – who is already a British junior champion in the discus and shotput - will be making her television debut later this month with a cartoon dinosaur as her guide pet.

Milly Elliott, 16, who studies at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford, plays a starring role in two episodes of My Petasaurus – a CBeebies comedic drama about owning your first pets.

Aimed at pre-school children, it is a mixture of live-action and animation and follows the everyday tasks and problems of raising your first pet.

Milly, from Ebbw Vale, plays visually impaired teenager Bethan in episodes that will introduce the concept of having guide pets to children and to help them to distinguish between a family pet and a working animal.

The episodes were filmed at Bute Park in Cardiff in June with her guide dog Libby. Libby’s footage was then recreated as an animation to turn her from a golden retriever into a bright red cartoon dinosaur.

Milly said: “The weather in the park was great, and Libby loved being in the limelight. I had a chaperone, and the outfit chosen for me was really nice.”

The teenager, who studies audio media production and performing arts, was born with a genetic condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa which means her sight will worsen over time.

By the age of eight, her sight had deteriorated so drastically that she had to start using a long cane to get around.

She said: “Today I only have some central vision remaining in my left eye, which makes getting around by myself very difficult, so my specialist opticians suggested we get in contact with Guide Dogs. That is when Libby came into my life.”

After being identified as a suitable match for Milly, the pair spent almost a month training together at the Guide Dogs Cymru centre in St Mellons, Cardiff – where Libby was in training – and at home in Ebbw Vale with the help of Guide Dogs mobility instructor Jemma Dopson.

Milly added: “There was so much to learn and as I was used to navigating obstacles for myself it took time for me to relax and allow Libby to navigate them for me. It was also quite challenging remembering the commands to give her but now it all feels very natural and we make a great team.”

Milly trains with Disability Sport Wales in the discus and shotput and Libby attends her training sessions.

A spokesperson for RNC said Milly, who plays the piano, sings and dances is hoping to become a music producer, musician or athlete.

Milly added: “It’s such a strange coincidence that I am a sports person and Libby was a sponsored guide dog puppy, named after Libby Clegg, the Paralympic sprinter.

“Libby has given me an incredible sense of freedom and my confidence has soared. I can now go to the gym by myself and feel confident when catching the bus and train on my own. I no longer need to rely on others to get out and about, which is a great feeling.”

My Petasaurus will be on CBeebies from Monday, February 24 but will be on iPlayer from Friday, February 14.