UPDATE: Ed Herbert completed the race in 1 hour, 53 minutes; Liam and Zdenek in 2 hours 19 minutes. – You can still donate if you wish for these amazing achievements. Thank you
Sunday October 15th, 2023, 5 intrepid runners completed the Bath Half marathon to raise funds for Somerset Sight.
Liam Harkness, who works for Somerset Sight and is blind, was guided round the route by Zdenek Gregor, who is a Trustee.
Ed Herbert, Eye Consultant from Musgrove Park Hospital, also completed the run, alongwith two other people, pictured below.
There is still time to donate if you visit the Fundraising page, to enable us to continue providing the services that we offer to visually impaired people throughout Somerset and slightly beyond. It is very much appreciated.
A delicious three course meal is being laid on for diners at the stunning North Cadbury Court, but there’s a catch – no one will be able to see what they are eating or drinking.
The unique experience, on Tuesday 26 July, where people eat whilst blindfolded, has been organised by charity Somerset Sight and enables participants to experience for themselves what it’s like to live as a blind or partially sighted person.
Jackie Sopwith, CEO of Somerset Sight, said the evening was one of the charity’s most important fundraising events of the year.
She added: “Many people who come to us at Somerset Sight with a new or deteriorating sight loss often feel that nobody knows what they’re going through. Whilst the aim of our event is to raise awareness, it’s also an excellent way to show people how reliant they are on their sight for everyday tasks such as eating and drinking, and to give them an inkling of what it’s really like for somebody with no sight at all.”
Somerset Sight provides support to more than 3,000 people living in Somerset who are partially sighted or blind. It runs a mobile advisory service, with specialist items to purchase or try out, which visits towns and villages across the county to provide support to those unable to travel to the headquarters in Taunton. It runs free ‘Seeing Life Differently’ course for those recently diagnosed and a volunteer visiting service providing each sight impaired person with their own unique volunteer to help with correspondence, socialising, making appointments and trips out. Somerset Sight now need additional volunteers for this amazing service so please contact them on 01823 333818 if you can help.
The Dining in the Dark event last took place in 2019 and raised over £5,000 for the charity. The funds raised support those with sight loss in the county, such as 61-year-old Dave from Taunton, who has type 1 diabetes and began to lose his sight 10 years ago. Dave is now blind in one eye and has very limited vision in the other.
Although Dave is still able to work, losing his sight meant he had to give up his driving licence which left him feeling depressed and anxious. A chat with a member of staff at a routine hospital appointment led him to Somerset Sight, where he was introduced to Graham Glover, emotional support worker. Since then, Dave has attended many outings and trips with Somerset Sight including a holiday to Newquay in June. He attends cookery lunch clubs and has recently set up ‘Dave’s Diner’, a drop in café which supports others with type 1 diabetes .
Dave admits that it took him a lot of courage to visit the charity, as he felt that others were more deserving of support than he was. Charity CEO Jackie Sopwith is keen to encourage anyone with sight loss to contact the charity for help.
She said: “Somerset Sight exists to help everybody in the county, and beyond. Whether somebody has no sight at all, or has been recently diagnosed with marginal sight loss, we are here to support, and our team has first-hand experience of the types of difficulties faced. Whether you need help to work, use your phone, cook a meal, or just need somebody to talk to, we can do it and it’s all thanks to the generosity of people at events such as Dining in the Dark.”
Businesses across the county are invited to donate prizes for the auction which will take place on the evening of the event. Dining in the Dark takes place at North Cadbury Court on Tuesday 26 July.
Purchase tickets online, or by calling 01823 333818.
If you are unable to attend and would like to make a donation or offer an auction prize please contact us on 01823 333818.
Pre- dinner reception and canapés
2 courses, coffee and chocolates
Black Tie /optional Lounge suit
£75 per person.
Jackie Sopwith, CEO of Somerset Sight, was interviewed recently by Caroline Cook on BBC Radio Devon about the work of the Charity and Jackie’s highlights over the last 6 years.
Service Users and Staff had the opportunity to choose some tracks to be played. You can listen to the interview below.
Many thanks to BBC Radio Devon and Caroline Cook for the opportunity.
On Monday 31st January, Ben McGrail from ITV West Country visited us at Somerset Sight to film our fantastic Choir.
They interviewed members of Staff and Service Users including Jackie Sopwith, CEO. Graham Glover, Emotional Support Worker. Kate McCallum, Receptionist. David Ellis, Service User and Chris Ball, Service User and Pianist.
Watch the clip below and see our Choir in action.
Thank you to ITV for this wonderful opportunity. If you would be interested in joining our Choir or any other activities, please get in touch on 01823 333818