Non-verbal man’s poem is inspiration at service

Charles Blake proudly holds his confirmation candleCharles Blake proudly holds his confirmation candle
Charles Blake proudly holds his confirmation candle
A heartfelt poem transformed into a hymn thanks to local music teachers has helped a non-verbal man with autism mark a significant day.

David and Karen Beer collaborated with 29-year-old Charles Blake on the piece, which was performed during Charles's confirmation service at St Peter’s Church in Normanby-le-Wold.

Leading up to his confirmation day, Charles, who has been non-verbal all his life, was inspired to write a poem that expressed his thoughts and feelings, and how he felt God has blessed him despite his challenges.

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With the support of David and Karen, Charles was able to transform his poem into a hymn, which was then played to the community who gathered for the service.

The Bishop of Grimsby and the Rev Elaine Turner were delighted to support Charles during the service, and many people said what an inspiring and emotional service it was.

They were bowled over by Charles’s poem of testimony, which was an opportunity for Charles to be fully seen and his voice heard.

The Rev Turner said: “I found it very humbling that someone, whose voice had been locked in until very recently, had such a very deep faith that had obviously sustained him over many years.”

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Charles uses a process called RPM, where he points to letters on an alphabet board, which he learned only in the last few years.

He said: “Being completely accepted so I could learn more about Christianity and what it means to me has been brilliant. I have been supported by Rev Elaine and others so I have come to the realisation I have a special place in the universe in the eyes of God.

“My faith gives me strength to carry on having positive feelings about my predicament. I no longer feel anger… I have come to accept that my autism is not such a punishment. I have instead recognised that I have got a task, to really help others understand that we can have fulfilling lives.”

Charles continued: “My day of confirmation was the most fantastic day. Not only were there people from my family but so many others, who have supported me in my community and home. It was a very proud moment for me, walking down the aisle with my confirmation candle. I now have confidence in my future.”