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Shane Lynch is best known as a member of former boy band Boyzone, which swept the chart with many number one singles in the 1990s. In recent years he has turned to acting and one of his enduring passions, drift racing.

Lynch was the subject of a recent Channel 5 documentary due to his severe dyslexia.

Lynch grew up in Ireland, and from an early age struggled a lot with his literacy. He turned to sport and excelled in motor racing, winning the Portuguese BMX Championship when he was only 14.

Around the time, he struggled so much academically that he dropped out of school and began working with his father, who was a mechanic.

“As a kid I was pretty much illiterate when I left school. I wasn’t badly behaved but I constantly cheated and got people to do lessons for me. I cheated in every exam and managed to leave with As, Bs and Cs. I certainly don’t point fingers at anyone that it wasn’t detected. I knew I had a problem and I never sought help so I’m as much to blame. I was very good at hiding it. I was also a big sports fan so that took me away from the classroom. I never set out to be a rebel. I just could not understand the written word. It was only later that I learned to grasp what certain words were just by repetition.”

At age 17, he was discovered at auditions for a new boy band that was being set up to rival Take That, and joined four other Irish teenagers in Boyzone in 1993.

He has continued to struggle with dyslexia since, and even now at age 36 cannot easily read a script when he is looking at new acting roles.

During the Channel 5 documentary, he was formally assessed for dyslexia, a process that filled him with dread due to the traumatic memories of not being able to read as a child.

“I was more scared of finding out that I wasn’t dyslexic and there was another reason or that I was just plain lazy.”

Since his diagnosis, he has been a champion for dyslexics in the UK and Ireland. He believes that although awareness about dyslexia has come a long way since he was in school, there is still more work to be done.


Sarah Forrest is a System Coach for Easyread, an online phonics course that provides support for spelling and reading problems in children with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, or highly visual learning styles. Find out more at