Music Teacher Makes Bespoke Ukelele For Gifted Girl Born With One Arm

11-year-old St Aidan's pupil Helena Pye who has a ukulele specially adapted for her
11-year-old St Aidan's pupil Helena Pye who has a ukulele specially adapted for her
11-year-old St Aidan’s pupil Helena Pye who has a ukulele specially adapted for her

A gifted schoolgirl with one arm is wowing her music teachers thanks to a specially constructed – UKELELE.

Plucky Helena Pye, eleven, was born with her left arm stunted at the elbow, leaving her unable to fulfill her dream of playing an instrument like her classmates.

But after spotting her obvious talent, dedicated music teacher Phil Dalton came up with a design and asked a craftsman to create a bespoke ukelele for Helena.

The year seven pupil is now able to play the unique instrument by using her right hand to make the chords while her left arm presses on a second ‘arm’ made from extra wood which plucks at the strings.

SWNS_UKULELE_ARM_02Mr Dalton, a teacher at St Aidan’s High School, Presall, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancs., said: “I could see that she was a bit down because she wasn’t able to join in with her friends.

“It’s one of those things that means anybody with a partially-formed limb can use it.

“Inclusion is a very important thing in education and as a teacher you do everything in your power to make sure your children are included.

“It was a really nice surprise for Helena. Her eyes lit up and she said no one had ever made an instrument for her before.”

The teacher, who gave his plans Craig Bunney of Choices Furniture in Blackpool, Lancs., to make a reality, added: “Helena is quite musically gifted.

“She’s a phenomenal singer. As a teacher you’ve got to make sure all your pupils are happy.”

Helena’s mum Kathrine Pye said her daughter had learned the theory behind playing the ukelele but never imaged she would put it into action.

The ukulele specially adapted for Helena Pye
The ukulele specially adapted for Helena Pye

Civil engineer Katherine, 46, said: “Helena was surprised and overjoyed.

“It was a big thing for her because she doesn’t see herself as disabled. She sees herself as the same as everybody else.

“It really touched us. It’s something so small but it has a big impact on her well-being.

“Just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to join in with fun activities and it means she can add the ukulele to her list of instruments.

“She is quite a confident person but she just wants to be like anyone else.

“We don’t treat her as disabled and it’s only when she comes up against an obstacle when she realises she’s different.

“There have been times in the past where people haven’t given thought to her and she’s had to sit on the sidelines or change herself.

“This has given her the chance to join in with her friends, and it’s an example of a teacher going beyond teaching.”

Kathrine said she found out about her daughter’s defect at her 20-week scan but doctors could not provide her with any explanation.

She said her daughter had been sidelined in the past because of her disability and was delighted that on this occasion, this wasn’t the case.


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