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Galloway’s Society for the Blind has been busy this Spring with a selection of activities aiming to give visually impaired people a taste of adventure.  The Southport based charity aims to ensure that people living with sight loss have access to a wide range of trips and activities that enable them to live a full, independent life experiencing thrills that are often only available to sighted people.

ABOVE: Volunteer Phil McEntee takes visually impaired Zubeda Adams for a spin round the race track on the Galloway’s Driving Day

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ABOVE: Left, visually impaired Emily Thornton poses with Right, Dawn Gillon of Galloway’s in a Caterham sports car

Most recently the charity took 20 people to the Water Park Adventure Centre in Coniston, Cumbria for an action-packed week of water sports and other outdoor pursuits.  Thanks to a generous donation from the Eric Wright Trust people were given the chance to climb, canoe, sail and abseil with expert guidance and tuition. All the activities were planned to build confidence and push people to achieve what they might not have thought was possible.

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ABOVE:   Volunteers and visually impaired team at the dragon boat race

Galloway’s gave 50 thrill-seeking blind and partially sighted people from all around the area the chance to take to the wheel and drive around a race track at Three Sisters Race Circuit, Wigan.

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ABOVE:  Visually impaired peopled enjoying a day canoeing at Water Park

The North West charity took over the track for the day and volunteers offered their cars for visually impaired people to drive.  They were put in control of dual control cars and were able to experience the thrill of driving – something that many visually impaired people say they really miss when their sight deteriorates, or have never had the chance to experience at all. Morecambe woman, Zubeda Adams, jumped at the chance to drive around the race track.  Zubeda said, “I never thought I’d be able to drive a car again after my sight deteriorated.  It’s like a dream come true driving again today and I’ve had a fantastic time”.  Zubeda also took the chance to ride pillion on a performance motorbike being driven by volunteer, Phil McEntee.  There were also sports cars on the track including a Caterham, an E Type Jaguar and an Austin Healey as volunteer car owners took visually impaired people for a spin at top speeds giving them a thrill to remember.

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ABOVE: Mr Sweeney, 15, being driven by volunteer Tim Pollard

Activities Coordinator for Galloway’s, Terry Myles said, “Galloway’s aims to provide visually impaired people with opportunities to lead an independent and active life. It’s great to give people with sight loss the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a car – something many of us take for granted.  Our fantastic volunteers ride with them and of course safety is always our top priority.  We have been running this day for a number of years and many people come back year after year because it is something they cannot experience anywhere else to my knowledge.  The Three Sisters Track is just amazing to host this and all the drivers give their time and, perhaps more importantly, their precious cars and motorbikes for free to help people with no or little sight experience the thrill of speed.”

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ABOVE: Water Park staff, volunteer and visually impaired Steven Ball and Dillan Bennett enjoying climbing experience at Water Park

Other recent activities for local people living with sight loss have included a hike up Rivington Pike and taking part in a dragon boat race in Liverpool; a team of 16 people made up of volunteers, visually impaired people and staff rowing against other teams and the clock.

Galloway’s is a local charity with centres in Southport, Chorley Preston and Morecambe and relies on donations and legacies to continue its services for people living with sight loss.  If you are interested in any of our trips and activities or other services for blind and partially sighted people please call Terry Myles on 01772 744148.

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ABOVE: Volunteer Anne Hyde with visually impaired Billy Davies, Linda Myles, Steve Illage, Pam Dewhurst and Vinnie the Dog enjoying a guided walk around Rivington.

For more information on volunteering with the charity please call Fundraiser Emma Wilson on 01704 809109.

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