Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York came to Frensham on Friday 5th April to meet children with dyslexia who are being supported by the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, of which she is Patron. She then called in at the home of the charity’s founder and namesake, Helen Arkell, for a special tea party.
Princess Beatrice is passionate about the cause of dyslexia, as she has personal experience of the condition herself. She was delighted to meet children from local schools across Farnham, including Potters Gate C of E Primary School, Hale School, William Cobbett Primary School and Highfield South Farnham, and enjoyed hearing their stories. Above all, she was inspired by hearing how the specialist 1:1 tuition that they have been receiving from the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity has helped them to find new ways forward that work around their dyslexia, and play to their strengths.
“I was so excited to meet a Princess”, said Pearl, 9, who presented Her Royal Highness with a posy of flowers. “She was really nice and told me that my dyslexia means I think differently in a way that can be very useful”.
During her visit, Princess Beatrice also met Matilda, 12, who was at the centre for a specialist tuition session with one of the charity’s tutors, Ginny. Matilda explained how Ginny was helping her to make the most of her different abilities. “We are just looking at how it helps me to draw mind maps, to help me organise my thoughts and ideas better”, said Matilda. “The Princess told me that she finds this useful too, and that she still uses tips that she learnt from her Helen Arkell tutor when she was my age. I told her that I might struggle at some things at school but I’m really good at triathlons. And I like cars. So Princess Beatrice thinks I might be a brilliant racing driver one day!”
After waving goodbye to the children and all the charity’s staff, Her Royal Highness then visited the house of Helen Arkell, aged 98, who founded the dyslexia charity in 1971. Princess Beatrice was able to thank Helen for having done so much for the cause of dyslexia and for establishing the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity.
Helen’s son, David, also joined today’s special tea party, “She [Princess Beatrice] is such an inspiration, and wears her dyslexia with pride - she’s a brilliant ambassador for this charity. My mum was a pioneer in her day, breaking new ground in the field of dyslexia, and setting up this charity to help more people. She is so delighted that the charity is going from strength to strength”.