Sammy Winward, the actress behind popular Emmerdale character Katie Macey, has suggested there will be no quick recovery for the character after her accident in a mineshaft last month.

Katie will face a battle to get out of a wheelchair and back on her feet in an upcoming storyline.

The actress also says playing a wheelchair user has given her an insight into how different the world can be for those unable to walk.

“Being in a wheelchair on set really gives me an idea of how difficult it is for people…. It’s a struggle to even get through doors.” She is reported as saying by SoapChat.

Katie had recently married businessman Declan Macey – actor Jason Merrells – as part of the programmes 40th anniversary celebrations.

Emmerdale’s longest running wheelchair user was businessman Chris Tate played by the actor Peter Amory who proved that just because you have a disability it doesn’t mean you have to be nice. Wicked Chris enjoyed defeating business rivals and having the upper hand over villagers. When he discovered he was terminally ill, he poisoned himself and set up his wife Charity as the murderer.

ITV soap opera was also groundbreaking in the 1970s. With their first daily teatime soap Crossroads the broadcaster founded what is now the worlds biggest respite charity after a character in the Birmingham motel saga, Sandy Richardson – played by Roger Tonge – was left paralysed after a car accident in 1972. Crossroads Care was founded after the programme highlighted difficulties faced by families adapting to a disabled loved one.

“It made you assess everything” said actress Noele Gordon, who played Meg, Sandy’s mother in the programme, “We had to change the sets to make the doors wider to fit a wheelchair through, bring in specialist equipment and furniture. Very easy to do in a television studio, but we soon began to realise just how much of a struggle it was for people, with little or no support officially from the NHS. That is why we have launched the caring charity, for the wheelchair users and their families.”

More information on Crossroads Care can be found here. Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV1, STV and UTV.

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