Princess Diana told chair of Red Cross holiday camp for disabled children she ‘wished she had her job’ never-before-seen diary entry reveals
- Eileen Nichol, now 87, was Chairman at Activenture in Sussex in July 1985
- Penned a diary entry about Princess Diana visiting the children at the camp
- British Red Cross has also released a letter from the Princess of Wales from 1993
Princess Diana told the chair of a Red Cross-run holiday camp that she ‘wished she had her job’, a never-before-seen diary entry has revealed.
Eileen Nichol, now 87, worked for Red Cross-run Activenture, which was for disabled children.
She penned her account of meeting with Diana in 1985, describing her as ‘charming’ and ‘full of compassion’.
Still a supporter of the Red Cross, Eileen has released her diary alongside a letter the royal sent in 1993 to mark Diana’s 60th birthday today.
British Red Cross have released two documents to mark Princess Diana’s 60th birthday. Pictured: Diana visiting Sussex in 1985
Eileen said Princess Diana got down to the ground to speak to each child and asked her about not wearing a hat in the rain. Pictured: Diana visiting Sussex in 1985
Eileen Nichol penned a diary entry (pictured) about Princess Diana’s visit to Activenture in Sussex, dated 30th July 1985
The entry, dated 30th July 1985, reads: ‘[The Princess] was charming. She has so much compassion for the children’.
‘She spoke to every one of them and got right down on the ground to look at a collage and to speak to the little ones.
‘It rained, but that didn’t seem to matter.’
‘She asked me how I got away with not wearing a hat. She hates hers. She wanted to know how to raise the money for the holiday. She had certainly done her homework.’
Speaking about the visit today, Eileen added: ‘I remember everyone being very excited. She spoke to every one of us and she spoke so well.
‘The children loved her, and she loved the children. She told me she wishes she had my job. It truly was a marvellous day.’
When asked why she believes her impact and legacy on charity is important to remember, Eileen added: ‘Her impact was worldwide. She’s known in every country, for her compassion, her smile and her love of children.
‘We were so fortunate to have had her involved with our work before she sadly passed away’.
Eileen, who remembers everyone being excited, said they were fortunate to have Princess Diana (pictured) involved in their work before she tragically passed away
Edith Conn, now 72, received a letter from the Princess of Wales in 1993 (pictured), after asking the palace for a photo to put in a Red Cross brochure
Alongside the entry, the Red Cross has also released a letter from the Princess of Wales written in 1993 has also been released to show just how deeply humanitarianism and helping others meant to her.
Edith Conn, now 72 and President of the British Red Cross Greater Manchester branch, met Diana, Princess of Wales, while representing the British Red Cross at an event at the Manchester Art Gallery in 1991.
Edith said: ‘She told me how highly she thought of the Red Cross and the wonderful work we do. And then we just chatted really.
‘She was so approachable because she was so relaxed. When someone is relaxed, you relax with them, and it just made the whole experience better.’
But Edith remembers an unexpected part of the conversation when chatting about plans for the evening.
‘I said “Ma’am, what do you do now? Do you have anywhere to be?” And to my surprise she said “I’m going home tonight. I’m having beans on toast and watching EastEnders!” I thought that was so funny,’ Edith said.
Edith said Princess Diana told her how highly she thought of the Red Cross and chatted about their work. Pictured: Edith and Princess Diana
Alongside the entry, the Red Cross has also released a letter from the Princess of Wales written in 1993 has also been released to show just how deeply humanitarianism and helping others meant to her. Edith Conn, now 72 and President of the British Red Cross Greater Manchester branch, met Diana, Princess of Wales, while representing the British Red Cross at an event at the Manchester Art Gallery in 1991.
The letter was sent to Edith a couple of years later, after she wrote to the palace asking for a photo to put in a Red Cross brochure promoting the annual charity ball.
She received such a personal and heart-warming letter back. It read: ‘As Patron of Red Cross Youth, I have had many opportunities to see for myself the work of the British Red Cross in this country and overseas. I have always been greatly encouraged by the splendid efforts of volunteers and staff in providing help for those most in need.
‘The work of the British Red Cross is just as important today as it has ever been. Increasing demands on resources and ever-changing needs at home and abroad mean that the Red Cross must work to increase the level of its voluntary income. That is why your support today is so important.
‘I wish you all a most enjoyable evening. Your generous help will enable the Greater Manchester branch to provide even more help for people in need. With many thanks, Diana, October 1993’.
‘Having met her two years earlier, this letter did not surprise me,’ Edith said.
Mehzebin Adam of the British Red Cross, said Princess Diana’s impact continues to have a lasting impact today. Pictured: Diana visiting Angola in 1997
Princess of Wales with a landmine survivor in Angola 1997
When asked about her thoughts on the continuation of Diana’s legacy on the British Red Cross and charity in general, Edith said: ‘I think her legacy is one we should hold on to because of her humanity.
‘She was ahead of her time. Her work with removing the landmines and the stigma around HIV/AIDs would resonate today with young people because young people are, I believe, much more aware of these kinds of atrocities and the subsequent damage.’
Princess Diana became patron of the Red Cross Youth in 1983. She also took particular interest in the Red Cross’ work overseas. Some of Diana’s most notable humanitarian work was around anti-personnel mines.
She famously travelled to Angola in January 1997, a trip organised and supported by the British Red Cross. Diana’s visit to Angola brought unprecedented attention to the landmine issue and sparked international discussion.
Mehzebin Adam, Curator at the British Red Cross said: ‘Throughout her life, Princess Diana was a dedicated humanitarian who championed causes in the UK and overseas.
‘From making connections with young people in her role as Patron of the Red Cross Youth, to campaigning against landmines, she was one of our most dedicated supporters, using her public profile to make positive change.
‘The impact of her work is not only remembered on what would have been her 60th birthday, but continues to have a lasting impact today’.
To learn more about Princess Diana’s involvement in the Red Cross and help us continue her legacy by supporting our vital work, visit: redcross.org.uk/princess-diana
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