Beccles Lions Club teamed up with the Observatory the Opticians again this year to mark Lions Club International World Sight Day. The Mayor of Beccles, Mr Graham Catchpole and Ms Ellie Cossey, optical assistant at the Observatory also joined the walk.
They were blindfolded while Club President, Lion Fred Helsdon and Lion Chris Lambert guided them round the streets of Beccles to try and negotiate the many obstacles that the blind and visually impaired people face every day.
Mr Catchpole said: “I found the walk a very sobering experience and now have even more respect for the blind people that walk our streets on their own. The most sensitive sense turned out to be my feet which surprised me, I noticed the uneven pavements and every up and down under foot, I was very pleased to have the arm of someone.”
The walk started and finished at the Observatory the Opticians practice in Exchange Square before going through the town centre. Free glaucoma checks were also being offered on the day at the opticians. Glaucoma is a condition that can affect your eyesight, and is usually caused by the build-up of pressure within the eye. Any damage to your vision caused by glaucoma can’t be repaired so it’s important to get an early diagnosis and treatment.
Ms Cossey, said: “Having the privilege of participating in the blind walk for Lions World Sight Day has really made me appreciate the challenges that the blind go through on a daily basis. Whilst on the walk all of my senses where significantly heightened. We have a great relationship with Beccles Lions and it is really great to work with such an active community spirited organisation.” As well as offering free eye pressure checks, the Observatory also provided really interesting and useful advice about how healthy eating can be good for your eyes too. They handed out delicious foods such blueberry smoothies and red grapes which contain nutrients that are especially good for the eyes.
Club President Lion Fred Helsdon said: “Issuing important health messages are a key part of the Lions Eye Health Programme too and working with such committed health care professionals such as those at the Observatory really boosted the event’s success. We felt that by blindfolding the Mayor of Beccles, Councillor Graham Carchpole and Ms Ellie Cossey we would assist them around the town so they too may understand the difficulties blind and partially sighted people must endure on a daily basis. Over the years we have done this we have certainly been thankful for the support of the public and businesses of Beccles. We do feel the town is continually trying to improve things for the blind and partially sighted within our community. I’d like to thank the management and staff at the Observatory the Opticians for all the help and support they have provided to Beccles Lions Club with this and other events over the years, we really do appreciate it. ”