Thalidomide boy who took on the world

A TV news producer born a ‘Thalidomide baby’ with no arms is celebrating winning a prestigious industry award – and continuing to prove his early doubters wrong.

Ronnie West, who grew up in Stevenage and now lives in Los Angeles, has continued his remarkable string of successes by winning a Golden Mic Award. His Fox News at 10pm beat every other news programme in LA this month to win the annual gong awarded by The Radio and TV Association.

Ronnie, who went to Longmeadow, Burydale and then Barclay schools, was followed closely by The Comet as a young man, firstly as a go-karter, then as a Paralympian for Great Britain at the 1984 Olympics, where he took silver in the breast stroke and high jump.

He then went on to a television career at TV-am, where he would often feature his hometown on The Wide Awake Club before he moved on to producing news, firstly in the UK and then in America, where he has already won an Emmy.

“Considering I was born without any arms and told at a young age that I and the rest of the Thalidomide children would not contribute to society in any meaningful way, I think I have proven those so-called experts wrong,” Ronnie said.

“As a single dad-of-two I have been raising my children single-handedly (pardon the pun), for the past seven years and have proven there’s more to a book than its cover.

“Thankfully my upbringing and not having it so easy put me in good stead for what, trust me, I never thought life would throw at me. Of course I know I’m not the only person dealing with stuff, it’s just called life.”