CAMILLA, the Queen Consort, has sent a letter of condolence over the death of an elderly Woking woman who was helped by a charity that connects the old and young.

For more than a year, Eileen Harket had weekly phone calls from Milan Kumar, now aged 10, who read stories to her from his home in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

They had been connected by Silver Stories, set up in 2016 to match young readers with elderly people.

Eileen moved to Goldsworth Park 35 years ago to be near her daughter, Jill Day, and was a health visitor in the Aldershot area before she retired.

For the past two years she lived with Jill, who contacted Silver Stories after seeing Dame Esther Rantzen, who is a trustee of the charity, talking about it on the BBC One programme The One Show.

“They linked mum with little Milan and he rang her every Saturday afternoon at 5.30pm,” Jill said.

“He’d have a bit of a chat with her and then he’d read her a story.”

Milan is an avid reader, who received a letter of commendation from Queen Consort Camilla when she was Duchess of Cornwall, for completing a challenge to read 50 books during the pandemic lockdown.

At the age of seven he read 50 books, including ones for young people by David Walliams and JK Rowling, but also works of Shakespeare, and biographies of Nelson Mandela and Albert Einstein.

In his first call to Eileen he read Walliams’s Gangsta Granny and then moved on to books about dogs when he discovered a shared love of animals.

“I thought that was really touching,” Jill said.

“Quite often I’d hear them chatting away and mum would giggle at a bit of a story.

“They formed a lovely little relationship. Mum really enjoyed his phone calls and looked forward to hearing about his time at school and whatever he’d been doing.”

In December last year, they both received a certificate from Silver Stories for completing 50 reads and hoped to reach 100 this year.

At the beginning of January, Eileen, 93, became ill and died the day before Milan was due to call.

At 5.30pm the next day, he lit a candle and read a prayer for Eileen.

“I wanted her to know how much I will miss her,” Milan told the News & Mail. “Eileen was a good friend to me and I will miss our weekly chats.”

Milan wrote to Queen Camilla, who is the patron of Silver Stories, and received a reply from her saying how sorry she was to hear that Eileen had died.

“I know that she will have loved reading with you and would be encouraging you to still achieve the 100 read.”

The Queen Consort signed off in her own handwriting: “With my best wishes and keep reading!” adding “your writing is so good.”

Milan’s mum, Daxa, said her son and Eileen had sent letters and cards to each other.

“It was a real shock to find out Eileen had passed away,” she said.

“I was deeply moved by their connection for one another.”