A family from Wisbech joined a gathering of inspiring individuals who were invited to the Princess of Wales Christmas Concert at Westminster Abbey yesterday (Friday). Ben and Sarah Dodkin, accompanied by their children Finley, Arthur, and Harrison, were among the guests invited by the Princess of Wales for their exceptional efforts in raising awareness about Batten’s Disease.
Both Finley and Harrison, the Dodkin’s sons, are registered blind due to this rare neurological disease, impacting their vision, memory, and overall physical and mental abilities while significantly reducing their lifespan.
To shed light on Batten’s Disease, Sarah Dodkin undertook a unique challenge, walking 100km around Wisbech blindfolded, simulating the daily experiences of her blind sons. The funds raised through sponsorships were donated to the Batten Disease Family Association (BDFA).
The BDFA is a charitable organisation dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by Batten’s Disease, helping them lead fulfilling lives.
The association also actively works towards raising awareness about the disease and funds research for identifying therapies and potential cures.
The Princess of Wales Christmas Concert this year focused on recognising the unsung heroes who contribute to the well-being of the youngest members of society.
Sarah said: “We had known about this for a little while but when our absolutely stunning invites arrived we shared the news with the boys.”
“They couldn’t have been more excited and straight away listed royal events that have been held there and the thought of being able to hear Princess Kate’s voice in real life has really excited them too,
“This invite all came about when the beautifully kind Wisbech Tweet (a community Facebook group) contacted the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and mentioned our family and our fundraising project Pedal4Memories.
“They were interested and touched by our story, and we were offered this absolutely incredible opportunity. We are so very grateful to Wisbech Tweet, and this truly is a unique and very special memory maker”
Apart from the Dodkin family, the guest list included midwives, health visitors, early years practitioners, nursery teachers, and community volunteers.
This event will be broadcast for national audiences on ITV1 and ITV’s streaming service, ITVX, on Christmas Eve.
Lord-Lieutenant Julie Spence OBE QPM said: “I am delighted that the commendable efforts of the Dodkin family in raising awareness for this rare and distressing disease have been recognised by Her Royal Highness and the Royal Foundation.
“I am sure they will have enjoyed the concert – their dedication to such a noble cause is truly commendable and deserving of the royal acclaim.”