The Duchess of Edinburgh visits Sensory Services by Sight for Surrey
Published 20 April 2023
The Duchess of Edinburgh visited Sensory Services by Sight for Surrey, a charity that supports over 8,000 people with sight and hearing loss in Surrey.
At the start of the visit, Her Royal Highness was introduced to Tony Greene, Resource Centre Coordinator, Satwinder Ghotra, Low Vision Dispensing Optician, Jane Wemhoener, Hearing Loss Advisor and her interpreter Julie Goudge. Tony explained the benefits of coming into the Resource Centre in person and showed her various pieces of equipment including magnifiers, a talking clock, tactile bump on stickers and a large button, loud speaking phone.
The Duchess then met John Mitchell, a service user and volunteer for the charity for 33 years, who was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa 40 years ago.
Her Royal Highness also discussed with Jane Wemhoener, Hearing Loss Advisor, who is Deaf, the hope that on-going developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) could enable advancements in British Sign Language interpretation.
The Duchess moved onto the kitchen where she met Deanne Weller, a Sensory Specialist Worker, who demonstrated specially adapted cooking equipment for people with a vision impairment (VI) including a tomato holder.
Her Royal Highness also joined a real-time ‘Let’s Talk Tech’ session. These online monthly sessions cover a range of topics and show attendees how to use specialist software that will allow anyone with a Vision Impairment to continue using their mobile phone, computer and iPad, to stay connected in a world with many accessibility barriers. The Duchess met Tech Trainer, Gary Eady, who explained the advances of technology and explained how an Orcam My Eye works.
The Duchess spoke to a group of blind and VI children about the artwork they were making and spoke of her three dogs and tortoise, Marmite, who loves grapes. Two vision impaired children supported by the charity, Rylie and Amy, presented The Duchess with a goodie bag and a hand woven bird feeder crafted by members of the children and young people’s group.
To finished the day, Her Royal Highness also unveiled a Braille plaque to commemorate her visit and cut a stunning cake demonstrating the work the charity has done over the last 100 years before she departed.
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