A girl of eight, who was born blind, is astounding her family and teachers by playing A-level music piano pieces.
Keyboard wizard Isabella King, from Swineshead, goes to her village primary school – St Mary’s – thanks to the support she receives from Lincolnshire County Council.
Isabella’s family are full of praise for the help the council gives to Isabella, including one full-time helper and one part-time helper in the classroom, specialist Braille teachers who go to school three mornings a week and twice-weekly visits from a mobility officer, who helps with things like cane training.
But the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) claims Lincolnshire has seen one of the biggest drops in county council care and support being offered to blind and partially sighted people.
The RNIB places Lincolnshire seventh in the top 20 worst local authorities in England, saying the authority has seen an 85 per cent drop in care and support offered to the blind since 2005.
The charity has published Facing Blindness Alone, which says declining support for the blind is a national trend, with councils helping around 25,000 fewer people than they did eight years ago.
It warns: “If trends continue, in just ten years’ time we could be in the very real position that not a single blind or partially sighted person will receive any support from their local council to remain independent.”
Isabella’s mum, Liz (40), is delighted with the help Isabella receives now from the county council, but – if the RNIB is right in its prediction – she worries for the future when her gifted daughter is expected to head off to university to pursue a career in music.
The family, who come from Lincolnshire, were living and working in Portugal when Isabella was born prematurely with detached retinas.
Last summer they decided to come home and Liz said the council put its educational support measures in place early and they knew exactly what Isabella would have before they came back.
She said: “They have been brilliant.”
Isabella has piano and harp lessons and Liz says: “She is naturally good at all music.
“She is eight-years-old and she is doing A-level music stuff and she plays the church organ a little bit.
“She’s playing at a Christmas tree festival in Freiston church in December.
“Her headteacher heard her playing and said ‘she is outstanding’. I can’t think of enough words that he said – he was just amazed by her.”