Book our annual Golf Day now!

Join us at Worplesdon Golf Club for our annual golf day – a morning of golf followed by a delicious buffet lunch and raffle.

This is a wonderful opportunity to play this stunning course while raising money for those in need of dyslexia support. Worplesdon is one of the classic Surrey heathland courses, laid out in 1908 by J F Abercromby. Why not get a team together for a fun day out?

Please register here.

We look forward to seeing you at Worplesdon Golf Club on May 9th!

Westminster Abbey Christmas Carol Service

Once again we were delighted to be invited to the Princess of Wales’ Christmas Carol Service at Westminster Abbey earlier in December. The service is a ‘moment to thank all those who work to support babies, young children and families’ and aims to being people together at Christmas time.

The lucky recipients of tickets this year were Julie Hall, our Services Manager; Claire Hughes, one of our consultants; Claire Harvey, our Head of Education; Lynne Adamson, one of Specialist Teachers; and Gill, our very recently retired Assessments Manager.

In Julie’s words, they had ‘amazing seats’ at the front of the Abbey with a great view of all the royals in attendance. Here is what Lynne had to say about this special afternoon:

‘Wow! I feel so lucky and privileged to have attended Carols at Westminster Abbey. It was a truly magical and heart-warming experience.

From the surprise mince pie to keep us going as we queued, to the awe as we entered the vast, beautifully decorated aisle, the eager anticipation was palpable as the expectant audience waited. Finally, the huge beam of the TV camera rising and turning to face the main aisle, was the signal that royalty had arrived and clutching our lit white candles, a solo choir boy’s voice began the first notes of ‘Once in Royal David’s City’. We were in for a treat!

There were celebrities galore, readings and poetry, poignant songs and great company from my fellow companions.

Afterwards, there was feverish photo taking from everyone as we walked slowly out, to secure this incredible experience as treasured memory keepsakes!’

And here are Gill’s thoughts:

‘There was such a happy vibe on Friday. While queuing outside we apparently looked like we were struggling to take a group selfie with the Abbey in the background so a kindly police officer offered to take the photo for us. Then once through security we were offered delicious mince pies.  Very welcome.

So many people (perhaps the Princess’s friends and supporters) greeted everyone passing by, imploring us to have a good time. The Abbey really was absolutely stunning. It was so full of rich colours and beautiful trees and decorations.

We were seated pretty early but the time flew by as we people watched. A few celebs walked along the aisle in front of us.  A young lad behind us caused a laugh when he excitedly shouted out “It’s Adam Lambert!”. Adam Lambert [a singer, if you don’t know]  heard him and duly beamed and waved!

Such memories to treasure for a long time.  Thank you so much for the opportunity. ‘

 

By |2024-01-26T13:40:09+00:00December 22nd, 2023|Homepage featured, Latest news, Team blog|0 Comments

Giving Tuesday 2023

A global day of giving.

Giving Tuesday is on 28 November and is a day that encourages people to do good. This may be through a donation of money, time or a community act. We know that times are difficult and this means that with every penny that is donated to us must work hard to help us help children and adults with dyslexia.

If you would like to be part of this, you can donate here, get fundraising ideas here and become a volunteer here.

Thank you from everyone at Helen Arkell.

By |2023-10-31T14:26:32+00:00October 31st, 2023|Fundraising news, Latest news|0 Comments

CEO blog – An unforgettable evening with the Royal Family

13 January 2023

An unforgettable evening with the Royal Family

January’s started off a bit grey and miserable, so I thought I’d cheer you up by handing the blog over to a special guest this time. Vicky is a long-standing supporter of this charity, having been a dear friend of our late founder Helen herself, for many years. Vicky’s going to fill you in on a very exciting adventure she had before Christmas, along with four other lucky members of the Helen Arkell team. Over to you Vicky …!

The first big excitement was receiving a beautiful card invitation to the Royal Carol Concert in an envelope marked “Buckingham Palace”. I had been lucky enough to win one of the five tickets that Princess Beatrice had donated to Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, for supporters of the charity to attend this amazing event at Westminster Abbey. My name had been put in the hat because I’m a ‘Friend of Helen Arkell’. By the time the important day arrived, Thursday 15th December 2022, I was like a child on Christmas Eve.

As that Thursday was a day between two days of rail strikes, we decided to go up to London mid morning, in order not to be heId up by transport. I had arranged to meet another lucky winner on the train – Samantha, one of the admin team at the charity – and we decided to find the correct entrance to Westminster Abbey before we had a look round. There was already snow on the grass and everything was sparkling in the sunshine. We found somewhere nearby to eat until it was the time we were supposed to take our seats, and we spent a very pleasant time eating and people-watching in the Methodist Centre. We managed to meet up with the other lucky winners – one of the charity’s dyslexia assessors, one of their teachers, and a trustee.

We had to wait quite a while in the queue, but we were offered mince pies and all the guides were very cheerful and chatted to us. We had been told that the Prince and Princess of Wales would be holding the
concert, but were very excited to learn that, at the last moment, all the Royal Family had decided to attend. We had to wait whilst a car dropped off a member of royalty, and then, after passing through
security, we made our way into the Abbey.

It was very crowded, and I sat at the back of a large block of people but right at the end of a row. As I am very tiny, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to see much, but as soon as the King and Queen Consort arrived, everyone stood up and I crept into the gap between the blocks and saw King Charles, Queen Camilla, the Princes and Princesses and Dukes and Duchesses, walk past right in front of me.

I had no idea that the programme would include so many famous people, including Mel C, Hugh Bonneville, Alfie Boe and Craig David. Those that were too far away for us to see were filmed on large screens all around the Abbey, so we did not miss anything. The service was a beautiful mixture of readings and songs, including Away in a Manger, sung by a choir of Ukrainian children.

It was all over far too quickly and, instead of making our way out of the doors, we were rather naughty and made our way to the front of the Abbey, where we saw the Royal Thrones, The Christmas Tree decorated with Paddington Bears and the Nativity Scene, and we took the opportunity to take lots of photos.

This was one of the most exciting days of my life. I felt l like a child in a sweet shop, and so fortunate to have been present.

When all the excitement was over, we made our way back to Waterloo and were lucky enough to catch a train almost immediately and travelled home very tired and aware of the fact that we had shared an important moment in history.

Vickie

By |2023-01-20T11:33:23+00:00January 13th, 2023|CEO blog, Latest news|0 Comments

CEO blog – remembering Her Majesty the Queen

9 September 2022

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Her Majesty The Queen. We send our thoughts and heartfelt condolences to all of the Royal Family, in particular to our Royal Patron, HRH Princess Beatrice, at this very sad time.

I was in a meeting of the charity’s finance committee yesterday evening, discussing budgets with Michael-John (our Treasurer) and Pete. We were putting the final touches to our plans for next year, when the news came through. It was Michael-John who saw the notification first, that the Queen had passed away at Balmoral sometime in the afternoon. I will remember that moment all my life, as I’m sure we all will.

I had the extreme honour of meeting the Queen on two occasions. The first was in about 1989, at a Country Fair in Windsor Great Park, where I was manning the display stand at our budding Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity. She was dressed in woolly jumper and tweed skirt, with a thumb stick in her hand, with well-worn deer antler on the top. She was fascinated to meet Ruffles (Springer Spaniel), Minstrel (Flatcoat Retriever) and Spangle (Collie x), and asked lots of questions. At that time, everyone had heard of Guide Dogs for the Blind, but Hearing Dogs were a completely new concept, having only started up a few years previously. She was keen to learn what the dogs could actually do for a deaf person. Which dogs worked best? Where did we get the dogs from? How did we train them? Had we ever trained a corgi?! (She laughed when she said this, but actually we had). All the time, her hand reached down to stroke the dogs. Minstrel couldn’t resist rolling around on his back with his legs in the air for his tummy to be tickled (typical Flatcoat), so his own recollections of the Queen will have been mostly upside-down.

The other occasion was in 2011. Life had moved on for me by then, and I was now at Canine Partners (dogs again!), where we trained assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities, most of whom used wheelchairs. We had been invited to give a private demonstration of our work to the Queen, at The Royal Mews. Blimey what excitement there was on that day!

So much excitement, that unfortunately I ripped my suit trousers about half an hour before the Queen was due to arrive. Which wasn’t ideal (CEOs tend not to look particularly competent in the presence of royalty when their trousers are ripped).  I think I caught them on one of the items of our demonstration equipment, which included a mock-up door for dogs to jump up and open, a mock-up washing machine for dogs to open and unload; and various other bits and bobs which unfortunately I was the only person strong enough to carry – while Julie looked after Xyla (golden retriever), and Jill tended to pup Patsy and adult demo dog Saffy (both labradoodles). Luckily, as a demonstration team we were used to working together, so someone got hold of a needle and thread and some rough repairs were quickly made.

The Queen arrived, and it quickly became apparent that this was going to be a brilliant evening, with no need for the nerves that we had all been feeling in the build-up. In our heads, we had been envisaging that we were welcoming the Queen to one of our demonstrations. But it immediately became apparent the Queen actually saw it that she was welcoming us and our dogs to her home. She was completely relaxed, and so easy to talk to, with a G&T in her hand throughout the evening, made to her exact liking.

Again she made a bee-line for the dogs, and their wheelchair-using owners, while also calling out cheerily to various of our guests as they passed, many of whom she knew, to ask them how they had got on with the betting at the day’s races, how their holiday had been, and whether their horse had recovered from its recent bout of laminitis.

When the time came to give the demonstration, she was situated in pole position, with the very best view, and she watched the dogs intently. Of course the trustees were sweating, in case any dog disgraced itself, but they needn’t have worried, partly because the dogs were absolutely perfect (as we knew they would be) and partly because we knew it didn’t matter to the Queen – she understood animals, and people, and I’m sure would have been equally enthralled if something had gone wrong, so she could have seen what we’d have done about it.

As an aside, she was particularly taken with pup Patsy, who by complete coincidence ended up being partnered about 18 months later with a disabled lady who lives in Scotland, not a million miles from Balmoral.

I will remember that evening for the rest of my life. It’s quite something to have met the Queen. And to be struck both by how completely one-off the situation is, but also how completely normal. She made it that way, by being consummately professional and by being so genuinely interested in people – putting people at their ease. The other thing to note, although I’m not sure it’s the done thing, is just how short she was. I am bending down almost double in all the photos, to be able to hear her clearly in a crowded room, as if I hadn’t, I’d have felt I was towering over her. She was so strong, and yet all contained within such a small package.

The other amazing thing, is that I’m just one person who feels that, in some small way, I knew her. And she went out of her way to meet so many other people, and conduct so many engagements across the world, that there must be millions of people who feel the same way. It is quite a skill to literally live in an ivory tower, and yet have such a connection with the real world, where dogs need walking, Land Rovers need fixing, wellies need pulling out of the mud and people need to be listened to.

Our thoughts go out in particular at this time to Princess Beatrice, the Queen’s granddaughter and who is Patron of our little charity. Princess Beatrice talks very openly about her dyslexia, and is not afraid to be herself in whatever company she keeps. I had a lump in my throat when a clip was shown in last night’s TV coverage, including an interview with Princess Beatrice reminiscing about family gatherings with the Queen and Prince Philip. We are so lucky to have Princess Beatrice as our Patron, and our hearts go out to her at this time. We have lost our Queen; she has lost her Gran.

On behalf of all of us at Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, we remember Queen Elizabeth II with great affection and admiration; and we prepare ourselves for the next chapter, with King Charles III on the throne. We wish him all the very best as he prepares to pick up the mantle.

God Save The King!

Andy

By |2022-09-22T16:37:41+01:00September 22nd, 2022|CEO blog|0 Comments

Your nomination really counts

£1,000 could make a big difference to the work we do supporting children and adults with dyslexia. That’s why we’d be really grateful if you could nominate us in the Movement for Good awards. Your nomination could be the one that wins us £1,000.

Hundreds of charities stand to gain £1,000 and we’d love to be one of them. The money could subsidise dyslexia assessments for several lower income families or make sure teachers from state schools can attend one of our courses.

It’s quick and easy to nominate us. Just simply click the button!

Once you’ve nominated us, our name will be in the pot for all three draws which are scheduled for June, September and December 2022.

The more nominations we get, the greater our chance of winning, so please spread the word to your friends and family.

Thank you in advance for your time and support.

By |2022-09-22T16:18:28+01:00August 23rd, 2022|Fundraising news, Latest news|0 Comments

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