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Weston, Worle and Somerset Mercury feature


EnergEyes offering a ray of light in a world of darkness

Bethan Evans, Reporter Friday, December 21, 2012
12:00 PM

ONE of the best parts of Christmas can be watching your town or village light up and bask in the glow of all those colourful decorations – putting you right into the festive mood.

But how would you feel if you were permanently surrounded by just darkness?

Weston resident Georgina Pinkerton was born without sight and says sometimes ‘one of the loneliest things in the world is being blind’.

Although she is supported by her husband and kept busy with her two grandchildren, she said it is being part of the social group EnergEyes that has made a great impact on her life.

EnergEyes is a sports and social club for the visually impaired and helps those who are partially sighted or registered blind to get out of the house and enjoy life.

Georgina, aged 54, of Wyvern Close, became a member soon after the club was set up in June last year.

She said: “The club has helped tremendously. It’s got me out of the house. When they started a lot of the members did not have any confidence, now we are just one big happy family.

“Our club leader Aileen has been an inspiration.”

Aileen Milsom, aged 64, of Milton, decided to form the group after volunteering with Vision North Somerset and admitted the group is close to her heart as her son is also registered blind.

But despite his disability, 34-year-old Tony has travelled to South America and Aileen has made it her mission to spread this can-do attitude.

She said: “Tony has really pushed boundaries and I think this helps inspire members, and shows I’m not just talking a lot of hot air.

“They know what he has achieved and I tell them to go do it, and it seems to have paid off.

“I think for people who are partially or completely blind it’s easier to stay in than go out, which can make them become very isolated and depressed.

“But this club gives people the chance to be with like-minded people. They do not have to explain there is a problem, as volunteers are there to help out, and they are all in the same boat.

“It’s got them out and feeling normal and it’s changed people’s lives.”

Aileen organises activities and events for members, as well as transport, which includes history trips, pub quizzes, visits to the zoo and aquarium as well as even more adventurous activities such as rock climbing and 4×4 driving, with the help of the club’s volunteers.

She said: “The club aims to get people out there, so they can have a go at anything they want.

“It lets people feel normal and part of a society, and it’s such humbling work.”

Georgina added: “The biggest thing we need to do is spread the word. The club has made a tremendous difference.”

For more details or to join EnergEyes visit www.energeyesvips.co.uk, call Aileen on 07758839466 or email aileenotty@gmail.com