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Sightseekers in Chorley seeks solidarity

Members of Sightseekers, in Chorley
Members of Sightseekers, in Chorley
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Being blind or visually impaired can make you feel like you are living on a desert island.

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If you are in the same four walls, you can be on a desert island

Lynne Rennison

After her sight got gradually worse Lynne Rennison, who was born with retinopathy of prematurity, called upon Galloway’s Society for the Blind and enrolled on a sightloss course.

Whilst there she gained a lot of support and met some new friends for life. Realising they didn’t want to stop meeting once the course had finished, she got together with another of the course members, Wilma Gregory, and they set up a friendship group - Sightseekers - two-and-a-half years ago.

The 56-year-old, of Adlington, says: “I was born two months early and developed retinopathy of prematurity. I have never really known how bad my eye sight was as I had it from birth.

“I had limited sight in one eye but I learnt to get by. Unfortunately years had gone by and I developed cataracts in my good eye, so now that is my bad eye.

“That is when I turned to Galloway’s and Action for Blind and took part in the two-day sight loss course.

“Whilst there I met a lot of people I wanted to stay in touch with and so myself and Wilma set up the group, with help from Julie Eccleston.

“The group gives me purpose and brings me to life. We are a friendship and family group.

“The main thing is for the group to support each other and encourage each other to leave the house.

“It’s not easy to get around when you have sight loss.

“You can live on the busiest street in the world but if you are inside the same four walls you can be on a desert island.

“You want to be around people who are going through the same thing.

“It can be lonely and isolating and extremely long days.

“The fact we meet once a month gives people a reason to comb their hair, put on their new jumper and get out to meet friends.

“I would like to think that what we have achieved as a group is giving people a reason to have something to look forward to.

“We make them realise they are not alone.

“With sight loss, you think you are the only person to have that problem but when you come to meetings the last thing you think about is sight loss.

“It is about sharing experiences and it is very comforting.”

Members meet on the last Wednesday of the month at the Galloway’s site in Farrington Street, in Chorley.

They gather for a chat about their challenges, offering tips and also offer friendship and support to others.

They also invite speakers and go on day trips.

Lynne adds: “We do various things. We meet to have tea and biscuits and discuss things that are happening within the world of visual impairment.

“We use our life experiences to talk about what’s going on and how things such as public transport affects us.

“They talk about how they feel about upcoming appointments and healthcare.

“We offer tips to each other, for example there is a bank card which has a notch at the bottom which helps you determine the right way to put a cash card into the ATM.

“People don’t always know about these things until members share their stories.

“These tips can help each other gain confidence as we care about each other.”

The group, although independent from Galloway’s, gains the full support of the charity.

Lynne confirms: “Galloway’s and Sightseekers run in conjunction with each other.

“We hold meetings at Galloway’s because everyone knows where that is and it is a good go-to place for people.

“We are so lucky to have Galloway’s in Chorley as it offers great support to us.”

The Lancashire Post and Galloway’s are joining forces for an appeal – Gallowheels – to raise £50,000 for a new minibus. READ MORE: Click here for more stories

So far, readers have donated £5,000. Can you spare any more? To make a donation visit www.galloways.org.uk/gallowheels; Call: 01772 744148 Text: GALL25 £amount, £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10, to 70070. or send a cheque payable to Galloway’s to: Galloway’s Society for the Blind, Howick House, Howick Park Avenue, Penwortham, PR1 0LS..

Are you holding any fund-raising events to support Galloway’s? Email natalie.walker1@jpress.co.uk