On Saturday 12th October the Lions Club of Ipswich took part in blindfolded walk through the streets of Ipswich to highlight the difficulties that blind and visually impaired people face everyday.
The event, which was organised by the Club’s Sight Officer, Margaret Conway, also marked World Sight Day.
Mr. Hamil Clarke MBE, Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor David Ellesmere, Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, Mr. Nick Pandolfi, Town 102 Radio Disc Jockey, Ms S Penn, Principal Ormiston Endeavor Acadamy, Jan Ingles Head of Communications and External Relations for Ipswich Hospital and Mr. A Brown, Healthcare Assistant, Chesterfield Drive Surgery where all blind folded and with the help of a member of the Ipswich Lion’s Club and the aid of white sticks, they set about negotiating the busy town centre.
The walk started from the junction of St. Matthews Street and Westgate Street (by Franklins Shop) and then proceeded to the NatWest Bank in Tavern Street, where participants had to climb the steps into the bank and then attempt to use a cash point machine.
“We found the whole exercise a real learning experience” said Margaret, “and, it wasn’t just the people that where blindfolded that learnt about the problems that blind and visually impaired people face, the volunteers that were guiding them have also said that they learnt a lot from the experience too!”
About being blindfolded, Nick Pandolfi said, “I felt quite disorientated for the first few minutes, but I soon realised that I had to trust my guide. I found that walking through the town wasn’t too bad, however one thing you do notice is the noise around you, something I hadn’t really noticed before. I also found the steps in and out of the bank a challenge, but using the white stick really helped. Doing this walk really has made me much more aware of issues that blind people face.”
Representatives from The Ipswich Blind Society where on hand to answer any questions, plus members of St John Ambulance and Police Community Support Officers where also in attendance.
The walk finished at Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre where the walkers met up with members of The Guide Dogs for the Blind Society to share their experiences and to meet some of the Guide Dogs.
“It was a fantastic event,” continued Margaret, “I really feel like we have helped to raise awareness of the difficulties that visually impaired and blind people face everyday. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who took part, with their help we have managed to get the message out to a wider audience.”
During the walk members of the Lion’s Club of Ipswich were carrying collection buckets. This collection raised £30.83 this will go to the Lions Sight Savers Trust.
The Lions Club of Ipswich are always looking for new members, so if you would like to volunteer your time and help worthy local causes then The Club would love to here from you. Telephone 0845 833 2804 or email Ipswichfirstname.lastname@example.org for more information