Mayor of Stamford’s ‘blind’ journey to raise awareness

Stamford and District Lions Gill Clarke guides Stamford Mayor Councillor John Dawson through the street. 
Picture by Terry Harris
Stamford and District Lions Gill Clarke guides Stamford Mayor Councillor John Dawson through the street. Picture by Terry Harris

The mayor of Stamford walked in the footsteps of blind people by taking a journey down the High Street wearing a blindfold.

President of Stamford and District Lions Club Gill Clarke invited Coun John Dawson to take part in the walk on Wednesday morning in an effort to promote Sight Awareness Day later this month.

A blindfolded Coun Dawson said he felt a little frightened at not being able to see where he was walking but that it gave him a good indication of what it was like for people with sight problems.

Lion President Gill guided him through the High Street pointing out any problems along the way and explaining exactly where they were so that the mayor could visualise his surroundings.

Gill said: “Coun Dawson’s blindfolded walk should be a reminder to everyone that regardless of age people need to take care of their eyes. Many sight problems develop slowly and are dismissed as part of the aging process, but sight problems have no age barrier and there is treatment available to prevent further sight loss.”

The Lions Club, which turns the Mercury into a talking newspaper for people with sight problems, is marking Sight Awareness Day with an event at Stamford Arts Centre on Friday, October 21, from 10am to 4pm.

The aim of the free event is to give people the opportunity to get information about some of the many common causes of sight loss.

It is open to everyone and to answer questions there will be representatives from the Royal National Institute for the Blind, Glaucoma International Association, Macular Association, Diabetes UK, Talking Newspaper and local ophthalmologists and opticians.

Every October Lions Clubs International celebrates the power and gift of sight. Since 1925, when Helen Keller challenged them to be Knights of the Blind, Lions have supported those who are visually impaired and blind and are the world’s leading non-governmental organisation fighting preventable blindness.

There are 39 million blind people in the world and 80 per cent is preventable.

As part of the fight against sight loss, Lions Clubs recycle unwanted spectacles for use in the developing world.

There will be a collecting box at the event should you wish to donate your unwanted spectacles.

To find out more about the event call 07946 629098 or 08458 334327.