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 |2024-04-24T09:30:15+01:00December 22nd, 2023|Homepage featured, Latest news, Team blog|0 Comments

Our Christmas Appeal

Writing to us at Helen Arkell, Lillian’s mum said,

‘I just wanted to share my proud moment with you. Lillian’s diagnosis has brought her a great deal of comfort in why she struggles and has allowed her to identify areas that there are easy solutions too. She has embraced lots of coping mechanisms and is a much happier little girl – thank you.’

Read Lillian’s story here

Lilian holding a book about dyslexia


At Helen Arkell, our mission is to create a world where individuals with dyslexia can achieve their full potential. We offer tailored and expert support to remove any barriers to education, employment, and daily life.

This Christmas we are requesting donations to kindly help us continue giving the gift of learning. Your donation, no matter how small, would be greatly appreciated.

Together, we can support more people.

Give the gift of learning

Thank you for your support.

Children colouring Christmas pictures
By |2024-04-24T09:30:17+01:00December 5th, 2023|Fundraising news, Homepage featured, Latest news|0 Comments

Send a card this Christmas and help us out!

This Christmas you can do a good deed by sending Helen Arkell Christmas cards.

Our 5-pack of Christmas Tree cards have been designed by artist Sian van Driel who has kindly supported the charity since her family received help from us.

These cards are available on the website and in our shop at 24 West Street, Farnham. One hundred percent of the profits from these cards goes to help us support children and adults with dyslexia.

You can also send e-cards from DontSendMeACard.com and make a donation to us with the money you save on buying cards and on postage. Choose from Sian’s design and lots more.

However you choose to celebrate this Christmas, thank you for your ongoing support.

By |2024-04-24T09:30:20+01:00December 5th, 2023|Fundraising news, Homepage featured, Latest news|0 Comments

Shop and donate during Black Friday and Christmas

We are coming to the time of year when we put our hands in our pockets to make life that little bit lovelier for the people we care about. And who can resist a bargain? If you are shopping for Black Friday, could you send a bit of love our way and sign up to the various schemes that mean we get donations while you shop – at no cost to yourself? These include:

Want to help us raise even more for FREE? Well, now you can just by shopping via Give as you Live Online!

When you shop at over 6,000 top stores including John Lewis & Partners, Expedia and Marks & Spencer via Give as you Live Online, they’ll turn a percentage of your spend into free funds for us!

Simply sign up, search for the retailer and start shopping. It’s that simple!

Get started today! Sign up via Give as you Live

Easyfundraising logo

Whenever you buy anything online – from your weekly shop to your annual holiday – you could be raising free donations for Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity with easyfundraising.

There are over 7,000 brands on board ready to make a donation – including eBay, Argos, John Lewis, ASOS, Booking.com and M&S – and it won’t cost you a penny extra to help us raise funds.

All you need to do is:

1. Go to https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/hadc/ and join for free.

2. Every time you shop online, go to easyfundraising first to find the site you want and start shopping.

3. After you’ve checked out, the brand will make a donation to Helen Arkell at no extra cost to you whatsoever!

There are no catches or hidden charges and we will be really grateful for your donations.

eBay for charity

Support Helen Arkell every time you sell on eBay. Simply pick us as your charity and the donation percentage (10-100%). eBay waives the same percent in fees. When the item sells, the donation is automatically sent to Helen Arkell and you get a donation receipt.

When you pay through eBay Checkout for an item, you also have the option to add a small donation to Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity. You can ask PayPal Giving Fund to claim Gift Aid on your donation, boosting its value at no cost to you.

For more information about how it works, click here.

Thank you for your support and happy shopping!

By |2024-04-24T09:30:25+01:00November 20th, 2023|Fundraising news, Latest news|0 Comments

Come along to our Christmas Drinks Evening

We would love to see you at our annual Christmas Drinks evening.  Come and enjoy drinks and nibbles with our friends and colleagues and have a look around the Centre.

This is our chance to catch up and to say a heartfelt thank you for the support you’ve given us over the last 12 months and, of course, to wish you well for the New Year.

Where: 24 West Street, Farnham GU9 7DR

When: Thursday, 30 November from 6 to 8 pm

Please let us know you are coming along by emailing events@helenarkell.org.uk

See you there!


By |2024-04-24T09:30:30+01:00November 4th, 2023|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.


By |2024-04-24T09:34:08+01:00January 13th, 2023|CEO blog, Latest news|0 Comments

CEO Blog – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

2 December 2022

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, a big donation, and an incredible quilt …

It might only be 2nd December, but our sweet little home in 24 West Street is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, much to the delight of the many visitors who keep coming through our doors.

It smells a lot like Christmas too, particularly in my room, because that’s where the mulled wine was served on Wednesday evening, when we opened our doors to the local community for Christmas Drinks, to nibble on the odd mince pie and hear more about our work.

The great and the good of Farnham and the surrounding area were here in force, including the Mayor of Farnham, who presented us with a cheque from Farnham Town Council, to provide specialist help to people with dyslexia from lower-income backgrounds.

Two other groups deserve special mention. The one is Castle Quilters, because they had clubbed together to make an amazing quilt in memory of dear departed Jan, who was not only a keen fellow-quilter, but also knew our charity well, having received much support from us over the years. Their donated quilt took pride of place in the raffle, (alongside Helen’s homemade cake), and spurred people on to buy loads more raffle tickets than usual. It was great that the winner, Lorna, was someone who has themselves done so much for the cause of Helen Arkell, having raised over £2,600 in sponsorship when running the Royal Parks Half Marathon for us earlier this year, along with her friend Susie.

The other special group are the family of our founder, the late Helen Arkell MBE. Peter, one of Helen’s children, attended Christmas Drinks on the family’s behalf, and announced a special donation of £40,000 from the family to the Charity, as a lasting legacy to Helen’s memory. How amazing is that?!!

Everything we do has the aim of furthering the work that Helen started back in 1971, with a special interest in providing 1:1 support to children and adults, regardless of ability to pay, and training teachers so their expertise can reach many more children with dyslexia in their classrooms, throughout their careers.

I hope Helen looks down on us and is proud of what we are doing in her name. This year, we have supported more people than ever:
• 1,387 children and adults have received 1:1 support from us for their dyslexia, or suspected dyslexia.
• Another 1,380 people have received training from us in how to support people with dyslexia at home, at school, and in the workplace.
• People have come from 27 counties of the UK, and from 12 different countries.
• 271 individuals have benefitted from bursary-funded support this year, at a total cost of over £120,000.

We can only increase the numbers of people we support, and the various ways in which we help them, thanks to a whole team effort. So, if you’re already a Friend of Helen Arkell, thank you for being part of a growing gang. And if you’re not (yet), then why not join us, and be part of a very special organisation that touches the lives of over 2,500 people a year?

By joining us as a Friend of Helen Arkell, you’ll be giving us the best Christmas present we could possibly have. And in return, you’ll hear our behind-the-scenes news, attend our events, and if you’re lucky you might even meet Teddy Edward Arkell Bear (!).

Thank you!

By |2024-04-24T09:34:21+01:00December 2nd, 2022|CEO blog, Latest news|0 Comments

Please support us this Black Friday!

Please click on the graphic below to sign up and help us support children and adults with dyslexia while you shop this Christmas. Thank you!
By |2024-04-24T09:35:32+01:00November 21st, 2022|Fundraising news, Latest news|0 Comments

🎅 Celebrate a green Christmas 2022! 🎅

Send cards, save on postage and help children and adults with dyslexia!

Send eCards and donate the cost of greeting cards to Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity.

With DontSendMeACard every e-card you send saves time, helps a charity, and reduces carbon and they are not just for Christmas – you can browse birthday, thank you, Mother’s Day and other occasion cards all year round.

Send an eCard now.

By |2024-04-24T09:35:33+01:00November 20th, 2022|Fundraising news, Latest news|0 Comments


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