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Volunteers meet HRH The Princess Royal

Friday 3 March was a proud day for the Charity as HRH The Princess Royal, our Patron, paid us a visit.

It was especially memorable for five Hearing Link Services volunteers who met Princess Anne and spoke with her about how they help us to help people with hearing loss, their friends and families.

We asked Charles, Helen, James, John and May for their reflections on those conversations…

What did you speak about with HRH The Princess Royal?

Charles: ‘We were speaking about Hearing Link Services’ range of personalised activities and services for people with hearing loss. Another group had been speaking with her previously about technology and hearing loss, so we focused on the personal side.’

Helen: ‘Her Royal Highness asked me about my volunteering work, and we spoke about how volunteers operate online, and about the Helpdesk, among other things.’

James: ‘HRH spoke to me about my hearing loss journey and my role within Hearing Link Services. I was able to show her some equipment and how it worked for Deaf/deaf people as well as talking about our Helpdesk. She was very interested in the technical side of things, but did admit to not knowing too much about it.’

John: ‘The Princess Royal asked various questions such as: how long had we all been volunteers? In addition to my volunteering for Hearing Link Services, I keep Roo, a brood dog, for Hearing Dogs. HRH was quite interested in this; we had a conversation about the mess involved in having puppies and whether the brood dog takes responsibility. Apparently it varies from breed to breed!’

May: ‘Princess Anne has a lovely, open body language, making eye contact and appearing really interested in everyone. She asked where we came from, getting quite specific, and asked how we became involved with the charity.’

How did it feel to be there?

Charles: ‘It was a proud moment to be representing the Charity at that place, on that day. I had been due to go on holiday and I shortened that trip in order to be at The Grange on 3 March.’

Helen: ‘Very exciting – a bit surreal. It was lovely to speak with HRH and with Countess Howe who accompanied her. Princess Anne seems to embody a sense of community, like her late mother The Queen. I loved meeting fellow volunteers, Hearing Dog beneficiaries and staff, and feeling like I was part of a big community.’

James: ‘For me this was a true honour and a privilege. I was very nervous, afraid of saying or doing something wrong as it’s not every day you get to meet and talk with royalty, but HRH made me feel so at ease, I am still in total awe… a day I will never forget.’

John: ‘The whole experience was a little strange, as it wasn’t (and couldn’t be) a normal social situation. However, the Princess Royal is a master at communications. She put everyone at ease and there was a lot of giggling at various points.’

May: ‘It was an honour to represent Hearing Link Services. Princess Anne has been our patron all along. It was fantastic that she could learn how we continue to offer peer support to others losing their hearing.’

Thank you to Charles, Helen, James, John and May for being such brilliant ambassadors and advocates for the Charity on this important day.

More photographs of the event will be published in the next issue of inTouch magazine due out in July.