At the heart of a town called Camberley in the Borough of Surrey Heath in Surrey, is a Resource Centre called Disability Initiative (DI), where people with disabilities go to take part in a variety of sociable activities.
I started DI in the summer of 2017. Since then, I’ve been enjoying taking part in boxing, cooking and using a genie chair which allows me to drive while standing up. I’m attending DI twice a week for fresh air and social interaction until I have a full-time job.
On Thursday 3rd December at about 10.30am, DI warmly welcomed Sophie, Countess of Wessex. A patron of DI. I was extremely excited to meet her and stayed calmed while waiting even with my heart beating fast.
I was decorating a Christmas bauble when the Countess arrived accompanied by some photographers, along with Lord Lieutenant Mr Michael More-Molyneux, and Mr Shahid Azeem DL, the current High Sheriff of Surrey, whom I’ve met a couple of times before. She sat directly opposite me, and the High Sheriff went on the table beside ours. While they were both working on their own baubles, I typed on my phone questions to engage a conversion with the Countess as I have a speech impairment. She was very kind and proved to be very artistic by decorating her bauble into a Christmas pudding design, as seen from the images below. However, soon all had to leave to see the rest of DI. They helped bake flap jacks.
Image from the royal family’s official Instagram page.
(Image credit: Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images)
Once we went downstairs everyone was put into teams to take part in a quiz. Lucy Brown, DI’s Chief Executive came up with the questions and the Countess read them out. The High Sheriff was on my team having me sitting on his left hand side. we managed to come in second place. and not to brag or anything, but some of the correct answers came from me.
Image of Countess reading out the questions for quiz. The High Sheriff on bottom right-hand corner, wearing a black mask.
The day was full of joy and definitely a highlight for all of us at DI. Before leaving, the Countess read my poem that I wrote for her and came over to thank me for it.
Journey of Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Make way for Sophie
Hey hey, it’s the Countess of Wessex
Yo, it’s time for DI to shine.
The whole space is buzzing
A princess is arriving.
The crescent moon smiles upon us.
The royal helm is joining the gathering
The breeze spreads from her kindness
Covid hasn’t stopped the honourable visit.
Good hearts give a smooth rhythm through this building by their beats
Team means ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’. You have made everyone smile today,
A smile may be considered to be a small deed. But every little helps
Thank you for bringing sunshine to our lives today.
Poem by Khaleel Chima
I hope the Countess had a lovely day during her visit and I’m chuffed that she loved my poem. The Countess is one of the ideal princesses that today’s society needs as her smile brings joy and hope to many. I’d like to wish the Countess and her whole family ‘season’s greetings’ and will surely meet again soon.
by Khaleel Chima, Roving Reporter for Ability Today
For more articles by Khaleel on Ability Today https://abilitytoday.com/author/khaleelchima/
Blogger & Academy for Disabled Journalists Student