Lowestoft blindfold walk is just so daunting

VOLUNTEERS from the Lowestoft Lions were joined by local personalities to walk blindfolded through the town centre help raise awareness of sight loss.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Lowestoft Mayor Tod Sullivan, Lowestoft Lions president Mark Lanham and myself all walked through the town centre on Saturday in aid of World Sight Week.

This was the third year that the Lions Club had organised this event to draw attention to the problems faced by blind people around the world, and to get their message across the volunteers were blindfolded outside the Britten Centre and asked to walk to the Tesco store on busy London Road North – and back.

They were given white canes and a guide as a walker, who was allowed to give them directions only.

Bumping into various obstacles and several people along the way, the difficulties faced on the walk helped to highlight the problems daily by blind and visually impaired people on a daily basis.

And, I can assure you, crossing the busy Gordon Road crossing, without any traffic lights or advice – other than to listen out for the traffic and walk on when you felt it was safe – was daunting to say the least.

Mr Aldous said afterwards: 'You completely lose your sense of place and then realise you are completely reliant and dependent on the person you are with.

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Your other senses do improve, but until you have done something like this you don't appreciate the extra obstacles that blind or visually impaired people have in front of them.'

Mr Sullivan added: 'To have another person be responsible for you was really strange.'

Meanwhile the Lowestoft lions got in the saddle as they launched their Bike Active campaign.

The project's aim is to enable people with disabilities to use specially-adapted bicycles, and the Lions are hoping to raise more than �10,000 make them available at a venue in Lowestoft.

The Lions have borrowed some of the bicycles from OPTUA in Ipswich but the long-term goal is to purchase them outright and make Lowestoft Bike Active a stand-alone project. But to make this happen they need to raise the funding, find a suitable secure storage unit and train up a team of volunteers to run it.

The Lions have committed the funds to get the project up and running and club president Mark Lanham said he was pleased how Saturday's launch event went, with many people stopping at their stall to find out more.

If you would like to help Bike Active, contact Mr Lanham at 01502 718035 or mark.lanham2@btinternet.com