Community Service/ 2018 Blind Walk

Our President Les follows the lead of past Presidents to do the traditional President’s Blind Walk in aid of the Orbis charity on November 12, 2018.

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I Walk The Walk To Help Fly The Sightless

President Les Sheppard reports that many past Presidents have done the traditional President’s Blind Walk in aid of the Orbis charity, and on November 12, it was his turn.

Orbis runs a Flying Eye Hospital – a state-of-the-art operating theatre and a fully equipped training centre, all on board a McDonnell Douglas MD 10. This plane takes ophthalmic training to eye specialists in poorer countries who typically would not be able to afford to travel for the training.

Extending on this, Orbis has added Cybersight, so its training can be accessed digitally anywhere in the world where the plane can’t go.

So to the walk.  Weather early morning  was not promising with a heavy shower at around 10am All clear and blue sky by 11:45  – not that I was going to see much of it for the next half hour.  We gathered at the Health Centre in Stock Road; me, along with my guides, Mike Sinclair and Keith Wood, plus Peter Greene to record the event for posterity.

Mind the puddles!

Blindfolded, I set off at about 11:55.  Mike and Keith kept me informed as to where we were on the route and steered me around obstacles - lamp posts, puddles and other pedestrians. Peter (I’m told) was ahead of us, walking backwards and taking pictures, resulting in him stepping into a couple of puddles in the process. (Every ace photographer has to get his feet wet sometimes!)

Simple at first.  Just follow the instructions from my guides, but by the time we were halfway my brain, deprived of visual input, started to invent things and I was imagining I was about to trip over the feet of people walking in front of me – very odd!

Step by blind step I continued down the High Street – “Now passing the Reading Rooms”; “Cross the road now … and stop here, feel for the kerb and step up”;  “Bear right down to the crossing at London Road”; and before long we were posing for the finish photo at Reids.  Just 25 minutes or so without sight, but  an incredible insight into what it must be like to live without sight.

Thanks to everyone who sponsored me.  We raised (with Gift Aid) over £300.

By Les Sheppard