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RNIB Connect Radio remembers our Late Patron

Her Late Majesty The Queen receiving flowers from a child at an event in 1993.

Many people, including boxer Anthony Ogogo, Bronze medal winner at the 2012 Olympics in London and Denise Leigh, the opera singer, have been talking to RNIB Connect Radio about the importance of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II role as RNIB’s Patron.

Along with Anna Tylor, RNIB’s Chair, they’ve been talking about how much Her Late Majesty’s work meant to blind and partially sighted people. 

Below we share some of the quotes and memories from those broadcasts. 

On Monday 19 September, RNIB Connect Radio’s Allan Russell will be live on air on from 10am until 2pm to bring its listeners coverage of Her Majesty The Queen's State Funeral being held at Westminster Abbey in London.

RNIB Connect Radio will also air special commemorative editions of Sunset Melodies at 6pm; Music Box at 7pm; and Sounds of The Silver Screen at 8pm later in the day.

Reflections on Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Denise Leigh, the opera singer who met The Queen at an RNIB event in 2003

“I was the last in the line, and The Queen worked her way up the line; my heart was racing and my hands were sweating.” “The first thing she did was reach out and touch my hand, I suppose because she was aware I couldn’t see and wanted to have some physical contact. Because she spoke to me in a very relaxed way, that relaxed me.” “We interacted like we were sat in my living room having a chat… I felt like I already knew her.”

Dave Williams, the host of RNIB Connect Radio’s Tech Talk show, met the Queen in 1991 at the Tech Demonstration in Liverpool when the Royal Blind School celebrated its bicentenary. “I was demonstrating the Eureka, a computer designed for blind and partially sighted people.” “My headteacher said: Can you get the computer to sing the national anthem? And The Queen said: “I rather think we need to speed that up a little bit.” “The thing that really struck me was how interested The Queen really was in everyone and everything.”

Anthony Ogogo, wrestler and, as a boxer, a Bronze Medal winner at the 2012 Olympics “It was an amazing day and something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. I just went blank… I told her she was my favourite Bond girl. She chuckled and said: “Good to know I’ve still got it!”

Anna Tylor, Chair of RNIB “Our Late Queen was the embodiment of what it is to be a servant-leader; service was at the centre of everything she did. It was as if it was in her DNA. “She visited RNIB services, attended events, opened exhibitions and colleges and all kinds of things so she’s been a great friend, and she lent that moral authority to the cause of sight loss.”

Matt Stringer, CEO of RNIB “The Late Queen was massively involved and interested in what we did, and where we were involved in the development of equipment and technology.  “Right up until the last few weeks, you can clearly see that she was very involved and connected with her work and maintaining that sense of duty. We’re very sad to have lost our Patron of 70 years.”

Peter Holland, Chief Executive, National Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, who had a video call with The Queen on World Sight Day 2020, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic  “The sight loss sector has a really very strong relationship with The Royal Family and, particularly, Her Majesty The Queen.” “She obviously really understood well the kinds of challenges we face, but also, how critically important eye health is and how much of an impact sight loss can have.” “My abiding memory is being on a video call and having The Queen there in front of me on my screen in my home office which is possibly one of the most unusual experiences I’ve ever had: the technology worked seamlessly!  “She seemed entirely comfortable with what we were doing, she immediately engaged with the conversation and brought people in”.

Sylvia Paton MBE, RNIB Volunteer “In 2016, I was honoured on The Queen’s 90th birthday with an MBE for services to healthcare and charitable services. It was a great honour – it was very unexpected and really quite emotional.”