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Blind for the day

A blindfold walk in Beccles highlighted the importance of sight tests

Blindfold walk in Beccles

The mayor of Beccles town and a local independent practice joined the Beccles Lions charity on a blindfold walk to mark World Sight Day (12 October).

Mayor Richard Stubbings and assistant manager at Observatory the Opticians, Julia Thurston, walked blindfolded from the practice in Exchange Square through the town centre and back again.

Mr Stubbings explained that the experience of being blindfolded was “disorientating.”

“After a few steps, I quickly lost all sense of direction and location. I would have been completely unable to find my way without help. I cannot imagine how I would manage without sight. It is terrible to think that there are parts of the world where people's sight is lost when inexpensive medication could have saved it,” he said.

Ms Thurston said that it was an experience she will not forget and that it gave her an idea of the darkness that people who have visual impairment live with.

“Even though I am familiar with the town being born and raised here I lost all concept of my surroundings and felt vulnerable in this situation,” she explained.

“To have sight is a gift I think most of us take for granted. We should all have regular eye checks and look after our vision,” Ms Thurston added.

The walk was organised by the Beccles Lions Club, which is part of an international charity that supports the local community as well as humanitarian causes across the world.

President of Beccles Lions Club, Chris Ramsden, said: “Issuing important health messages are a key part of the Lions eye health programme and working with such committed health care professionals such as those at Observatory the Opticians really boosts awareness within the town of Beccles.”

“We feel the town is continually trying to improve things for the blind and partially sighted within our community,” he added.