Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester makes first official visit in her new role

FIRST VISIT: Lord Lieutenant with Walthew House Chair of Trustees Christine McKenna and Funding and Income Generation Manager Sarah Mollitt, holding trainee Guide Dog puppy Deacon

The Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mrs Diane Hawkins, visited Stockport charity Walthew House last week on her first official visit in her new role.

Mrs Hawkins was appointed on July 4, 2022 after serving as a Deputy Lieutenant since 2008 and as High Sheriff during 2021/22.

Kay Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are always happy to welcome the Lord Lieutenant to our centre in Shaw Heath, and were delighted when she agreed to continue the tradition to become President of Walthew House. Our charity has a long-established connection with the Greater Manchester Lieutenancy, starting with the first Lord Lieutenant, Sir William Downward.

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“Sir William cut the ground for the extension of Walthew House in 1987, when Lieutenant Colonel Haldon Hole (who served as a Deputy Lieutenant) was the Chair of the charity’s trustee board.”

During her visit, the Lord Lieutenant was given a tour of the building, visiting the visually impaired Monday social group who were enjoying arts and crafts with refreshments, and volunteers in the on-site Resource Centre who explained more about the assistive aids and technology available for people living with sight or hearing loss. The steel band leader, Janice Turley, was also able to give the Lord Lieutenant a quick lesson on playing the steel drums, and explained how the blind and deaf service users are able to play together as a band, with practice sessions taking place every Tuesday.

BEAT OF THE DRUM: Volunteer Janice Turley with the Lord-Lieutenant

The band are already booked to make a public appearance at this year’s Bramhall and Woodford Rotary Club Duck Race in May. Also during her visit, the Stockport Talking Newspaper gave a tour of their recording studio at Walthew House.

The Lord Lieutenant kindly agreed to give a short interview, which was then included in the weekly talking news which is distributed to visually impaired people across Stockport. You can listen to this interview, and watch a British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation video of the interview on the Walthew House website.

If you are interested in finding out more about the services provided by Walthew House for people living with sight or hearing loss, please get in touch with the charity on 0161 480 2612.

Submitted by Walthew House

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