Becky Tyler – the teenager whose moving story inspired the crowd at Greenbelt in the summer – was among Livability’s special guests last night at the disability charity’s Christmas carol service.
Becky became involved with Livability (the disability charity that connects people with their community) through an accessible church service the charity organised with the large summer arts and faith festival ‘Greenbelt’.
Using her Tobii Dyanvox device she spoke to over 6000 people about her story and the importance of churches being inclusive and accessible for disabled people.
Last night, she took the platform again at Trafalgar Square’s St Martin’s In The Field’s church to give a reading to 600 people at the charity’s carol service.
Attended by supporters and people that use Livability’s services, the carol concert combined a variety of readers, speakers and performers, to welcome in the Christmas season and raise awareness for the work of the charity.
Becky joined hosts and special guests that included BBC Songs of Praise’s Pam Rhodes, the Reverend Roger Royle and the celebrated TV and Radio presenter, Christ Tarrant.
On her Twitter profile, Becky describes herself as: ‘Christian, teenager, eye gaze user, computer whizz kid, artist, gamer, actress, preacher and nonverbal quadriplegic with a big voice. But mostly cheeky.’
As a nonverbal communicator, Becky gave her reading using a dynavox – a special speaking device that Becky has previously described as making her sound ‘like Stephen Hawking – but a lot nicer.’ During her speech on the night, Becky said:
‘I first met the lovely people from Livability at the Greenbelt Festival in the summer. I was very honoured to preach at the big communion service.’
‘This was an awesome service led by lots of disabled people, and it was very inclusive for people with all kinds of disabilities.’
‘At Greenbelt, I talked about how God loves us just the way we are, and His love for us does not depend on what we can, or cannot do. God does not love me less than someone who can walk and talk, and in fact God Himself has a wheelchair! God can use difficult situations for His glory. There are lots of things I cannot do because of my disabilities, but I have learned different ways to do things, like using this computer to help me speak. And I think people listen to me more because of this.’
‘As a young disabled person, I want to be included and to feel like I belong in my community. I want to be able to contribute to it too.’
‘…I would like everyone to see that disabled people are an important part of our communities, and we have a lot to contribute to community life.’
On taking part in the service Becky said:
I am happy to have taken part in Livability’s carol service. I am very passionate about seeing people fully included and able to share their story and experience. That’s why I am proud to support Livability’s charity evening, because I know that they are a charity committed to tackling the barriers in our society that can cause disabled people to be isolated.’
Janet Miles, Head of Communications and Campaigns for Livability said:
‘Loneliness and isolation are huge issues impacting many people in our society, especially at Christmas. We are so pleased Becky joined us this evening to raise awareness for the needs of disabled people. She is an amazing young woman, who is doing great work to really challenge people to think about the importance of inclusion.’
The carol service was hosted by BBC’s Pam Rhodes and the Reverend Roger Royle. Performances were given by Canticum Chamber Choir, Mary Plazas (soprano soloist) David Wong (clarinetist) and Chris Tarrant gave a reading.
Proceeds from the event go to support the work of Livability.
Read about Livability’s accessible church service with Greenbelt here