Community Service/ ORBIS Blind Walk 2019

An Autumn chill didn't dissuade our noble President Ben, guided by Ed Harrison and Les Sheppard (hardly the bodyguard types), from completing the traditional President’s sponsored blindfold walk in aid of Orbis, the sight charity.

President Ben and Ed en route
Show related pages

Turning a Blind Eye

Normally President Ben does not look like a bandit, act like a bandit or shout “Hands up! Your wallet or your life.”

But when blindfolded with two sturdy henchmen as his bodyguards in Billericay High Street, he might be considered up to no good. Read on since nothing could be further from the truth.

Bright day on Monday September 23 – a bit of an autumn chill – as our noble President guided by Ed Harrison and Les Sheppard (hardly the bodyguard types), completed the traditional President’s sponsored blindfold walk in aid of Orbis, the organisation which, by air, brings complex eye operations to areas where such operations would not otherwise be possible.

Bringing people together to fight avoidable blindness

In addition to bringing complex eye operations to problem areas, Orbis is probably best known for its Flying Eye Hospital.  This is a state-of-the-art operating theatre together with a fully equipped training centre, located on board a McDonnell Douglas MD 10.
This plane allows Orbis to take state-of-the-art ophthalmic training to eye specialists unable to afford the cost of travelling overseas to get the training. It also operates its Cybersight service, which allows the training to be accessed over the Internet anywhere in the world, including remote or dangerous areas where the plane cannot be taken.

Footsteps In The Dark

Starting from the Health Centre in Stock Road, at 11 a.m. Ben donned his blindfold, and, after a brief photo opportunity, he quickly settled into his stride. In the absence of sight, he was relying on his ears to give clues as to where he was, and easily identified the footbridge over the railway from the ringing sound of his footsteps.

At St Mary Magdalen, Ben’s wife Angela and other friends appeared at the door to cheer him on (though apparently Michael Ginn could not be tempted out, remaining inside enjoying his morning coffee).

Bandit Challenge

While they were chatting, a passing man said to Ben “For a moment I thought you were a real bandit and I was going to have to hand over my wallet”.  Told that it was for charity and we’d be happy to take his wallet, he was by then long gone. 

Step by blind step Ben continued, reaching Reids in just 42 minutes. Sponsorship raised £295 to be sent to Orbis.

Ben said: “Interesting how your ears have a helpful effect when you cannot see, but I am now aware just how difficult it must be for those who cannot.  I now appreciate more than ever what a great job Orbis does."