LATEST NEWS - 2017
Please send any photos to firstname.lastname@example.org who will put them on our web site and Please send articles for Newsletter to Gail Fagan 0114 2667764 email email@example.com
A TOUCHING STORY I believe there are a few others like me who wish they had taken time out and travelled around the world when they could have. I did by ship but didn't see much away from my ships. I have just finished listening to a true story of a couple that did travel around the world on a motor bike and what's more amazing the pillion passenger was a very brave blind lady in her fifties. Well worth listening to. They travelled through some very dangerous countries and along some of the most dangerous roads. This ladies white cane helped. The Title is: TOUCHING THE WORLD by Birchall and Smith tb19740 from RNIB... Please listen to it Eric Andrews
Thank You from Mike Jackson
I thank from the bottom of my heart all those many members who attended Norma's funeral service in April and those who sent heartwarming messages of support and encouragement at a very emotional time. The friendship and goodwill of Group members is appreciated more than I can easily express. I am sure that we will continue to enjoy many more walks together over the years ahead". Mike Jackson
SHEFFIELD ROUND WALK...
The fantastic amount raised so far is £3,000 and counting. On behalf of all who took part I would like to say a big Thank You to all those who sponsored us. Gail
MESSAGE FROM THE RETIRING CHAIRLADY...
Those of you who attended the AGM will know that I have stepped down from the Chair. I want to say how much I have enjoyed the role and that it has been a great pleasure to work with the Committee and with all our members to make the group a success. I have been in the job for 5 years and not only do I think I need a bit of a break, I believe it is important for groups like ours to have new people at the top who can bring a fresh perspective to bear. So, thank you to all members for supporting me and an extra special thanks to the members of the Executive Committee for all their support. My very best wishes to David Cadet who has gallantly taken on the Chair. PS - You do not get rid of me altogether! I am now Vice Chair and will do my best to support David and the rest of the Executive in that role. Christine
Go back to top
Go back to Main Menu
Hello everyone. It was great to have another ramble with you. The weather report was terrible and I wondered if anyone would come out. However, 14 people came and I forgot all about the rain once we were on our way. Thank you Norman and David for preparing this hike and then leading it.
John Bater met me at my bus stop and escorted me into town to our meeting point. He couldn't come with us on the bus as he had to return home until some workman had completed their job. However, thank you John for your assistance. When we got off the bus Mike Jackson and some others met us and off we went. Soon Mike bought me a delicious cup of coffee at our first stop. Thanks, Mike. When we started up again Mary took over guiding me, the first of several people. As we climbed upwards I wondered what was meant by the repeated shout 'Hay, you are taking the longer path.' Wherever we went, we came to Dore in time for lunch.
John Bater now joined us as he came on the Stannington to Dore bus, the one everyone expected me to use to go home rather than complete the walk. However, after a huge sandwich I wanted to continue so I walked with David down the hill to our bus stop. I wasn't as fast as the walkers at the front but we were in time to catch our bus. Brenda took over guiding me at the bus and we had a great chat during the ride. I rang Brian to see if he was at the Bankers Draft pub, and he was there with his friend who uses a wheelchair. When we got off the bus in town I was surprised to find that Brenda planned to take me to the pub. I was even more surprised when she came in and said she intended to join us. When we all moved to a favourite corner at the back of the pub we were again surprised to find that Brenda wanted fish and chips. Brian, his friend and myself bought pints of beer and watched Brenda eat a delicious meal.
Finally, when Brian's friend and Brenda had left, Brian and I finished our second pints of beer and Brian guided me through the pub and down to my bus stop. He ensured I got on my bus. Thanks a lot for your guiding, Brian, and it was great to see you. Thanks everyone for a wonderful day walking, chatting, drinking and eating. It's the best part of my life!
SHEFFIELD ROUND WALK
Congratulations to all those who participated in the Sheffield Round Walk Challenge. What heroes you were on what was the hottest day of the year up to that point. 26 people including 9 VIPs set off from Hunters Bar at 9.15am ably lead by Nigel. Not everyone tried to do the whole walk but everyone completed at least the distance they had set themselves to do and some went further than they had thought possible. 22 people, including 7 VIPs, arrived back at Hunters Bar at 6.10pm having walked 17 miles (measured on Gail's GPS)!!! What an amazing achievement. Everyone was justifiably very pleased with themselves. My sincere thanks to all those who participated with special thanks to the guides who make all this kind of thing possible and to Nigel who stepped up to the plate at the last minute to take over leading the walk on my behalf. It will be a while before we know how much money we have raised but early indications are that we have done very well indeed. Christine.
Saturday 15th July. Drive Challenge, Norton Lightwood, Norton Avenue. Are you up for a challenge? Then drive a car blindfolded in aid of SRSB. Participants will get the chance to drive three miles, two laps of the course in a dual controlled car whilst receiving instructions from the instructor. This event is open to all if you are blind or sighted from 11 years of age. The event is organised in conjunction with Safety First Driving Academy. The second lap will be timed in our very own "Top Gear" challenge, with a prize for the fastest time over the two challenges. Registration fee £10 please book in advance to reserve your slot. Minimum suggested sponsorship £50. Please contact Sue or Jane tel; 0114 2722757.
SUNDAY A PORTRAIT OF 21ST CENTURY ENGLAND...
Sunday walkers will remember Matt Writtle, the photographer who came out with us on one of our Sunday walks last year. In order to publish his book Matt is now trying to get crowd funding through an organisation called Kickstarter. For more information and a look at some of the photos in the book, including those of the group, go to Matt's website
mattwrittle.com If you are interested you need to follow this up before 10th June.
OBITUARY - CHRIS DARLING...... Chris Darling sadly died in the early hours of Friday morning 12th May. Chris battled with ill health for many years struggling with Diabetes, eventually she also lost her sight. Chris was a very tough character and dealt with everything life threw at her with her illness and blindness. She trained as a "PE" teacher at Lady Mabel's College in Wentworth in her early life. Later she became a social worker until she had to give up her career due to illness. She loved travel and took some holidays with Travel Eyes. She had just come back from a trip to Africa on a Safari. Earlier this year she visited India with her good friend Peter.She was desperate to do a Sky Dive for SRSB but the doctor vetoed it. Our condolences to her Mum, Brother, Sisters, Nephews and Nieces - of whom she was very fond. Also to her good friend Peter and "PA" support worker and good friend Andrea. We shall miss you Chris. Gail Christine's funeral will be held at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium Friday June 2nd at 3.30pm.
BUXTON TRIP... The most beautiful sunny May Day imaginable and a coach that waited for two late comers (no names mentioned!) wasn't the best start ever for what turned out to be a highly enjoyable day in Buxton with our hearing impaired friends. The walk which was lead by Christine in her usual well researched style incorporated the very best the Peak District had to offer. Fields, woods, hills, dales, an abundance of Bluebells and a lunch stop at the most stunning of view points, Solomons Tower. A coffee and a cake sitting in the sun outside the Pavilion Gardens was the perfect end to a memorable day. Many thanks to Christine for all her planning, pre walking the route and meticulous organisation as ever....Angela Elliott.
Dear all, we both would like to thank you all so much for our cards and gifts we have kindly received for our wedding, it has meant so much. We will never forget our very special day thank you all so very much.
Love Carol and Nic Adams.
From time to time we shall be having a short walk for Betsy who after Ted and Jill started up the group was one of the main instigators in driving the group forward, helping to set up the committee and being the first Chairman. It might not be the Tuesday walk which will retain its status quo. I will look at other dates that do not interfere with Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday walks. I will try for 3 1/2 - 4 miles No stiles and if possible no steep ascents. If members could show their support it would be much appreciated.
David Cadet - Short walks Programmer
NORMA JACKSON, beloved wife of Mike, died on Monday April 10th after a short illness. Norma was a great supporter of our group and was always interested in what the group was doing, even occasionally joining us on some of our walks.
Several years ago Mike and Norma opened their lovely garden in Dore, donating some of the proceeds to SVIWG, and have continued to do so every year. Mike and Norma also travelled the world together enjoying their shared interest in Bird watching. Our condolences to Mike and his family on behalf of the SVIWG.
JUNE HEGGARTY sadly died on April 7th after a short illness. Many of you will remember June and her sister Kay who came on group holidays. Our condolences to Barry and her family for their sad loss. We look forward to welcoming Barry on our future walks.
TREKKING IN THE HIMALAYAS...
A night in a Buddhist Monastery at 3700m close to Nepal's border with Tibet, followed by a simple breakfast of chapatti and instant pot noodle washed down with Tibetan butter tea; meals cooked on yak dung fires; a land where eagles soared below me; herds of wild blue sheep and goats freely roaming; foxes howl and cockerels crow at dusk and dawn; a rural land high in the Himalayas that's only 70 miles or so from Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. It takes an 8 hour journey on a road that only Top Gear would relish, then a 4 day trek on mule paths to get to; a land where solar panels and satellite discs adorn houses but life exists without a mobile signal or wifi, without mechanisation or wheels. These are just some of the memories I bring back of my recent trek to the Tsum Valley in Nepal. To these must be added the effects of 2015's massive earthquakes. (The epicentre was close to here.) Throughout, I saw people reconstructing their lives: men, women and children manually breaking stone, collecting gravel and other building materials from the river bed, working with timber and wood; gradually rebuilding their homes and communities; some still living in the emergency tents that international aid had provided for them.
The Valley is surrounded by the Ganesh Himal range of mountains, 6 and 7000+m high and lies close to Manaslu, at 8163m, the world's 8th highest mountain. Everywhere the ground is strewn with what are known as chortens and mani walls made out of thousands of stone slabs carved with drawings of deities. From around 3000m, forests of pine and rhododendron trees give way to a cultivated plain. This runs for several miles before finally giving way to the steep, rocky mountain sides. Through these, the mule track - soon to be made into a road - that I'd followed from lower down in Nepal continues to the high mountain passes and on into Tibet. The people, though Nepali, consider themselves Tibetan and prefer trading there rather than with the rest of Nepal, 2-3000m lower down. The Tibetan influence includes a prevalent Buddhist culture which identifies this valley as a beyul; a holy, hidden valley of happiness, a refuge to be discovered when the planet is approaching destruction and the world becomes too corrupt for spiritual practice. 'How apposite is that!', I thought as I came home to news of what's happening in Syria and the rest of the world?' For the record, I went with Kathmandu-based Beyond the Limits Treks and Expeditions, www.treksinnepal.com.
WHITBY HOLIDAY... 10th to 15th September 2017.Confirmation letters went out to all of those going to Whitby next September, in case there was an error in my typing the final balance after each person has paid their £20 deposit should read £340. Thanks Hilary.
Whitby - Earlier Details
I have reserved 30 beds at the "Saxtonville" 3* Hotel, Whitby, 5 Nights, Dinner Bed & Breakfast, @ £350 per person, Sun 10th - Fri 15th Sept. All rooms are En-suite with bath & shower. We have 4 single & 13 Double/Twin & 1 Triple available. We will keep the coach for the full holiday as this worked so well this year, the cost will be the same, £10 each. Please contact Hilary by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone & leave a message if you wish to go on the holiday Tel; 0114 2306604. As some members have suggested that it would work easier for them to pay in instalments, Stan Wainwright our treasurer, will be happy to do this for anyone who would prefer this method. An initial Deposit of £20 is required on booking.
SRSB REQUEST... SRSB have approached us to see if any of our guides would accompany some of their clients on a 5 day holiday. The cost of the holiday and travel would be covered by the clients themselves please see dates below if anyone would like to volunteer.
April 10th St. Annes 5 days, July 1st Llandudno 5 days, August 28th Scarborough 5 days, September 4th Southport 4 days, October 23rd St. Annes 5 days.
Please contact Carol at SRSB 0114 2722757 many thanks
BUS PASS RENEWAL... SYPTE have changed the system so that anyone with a disabled person's pass with visually impaired logo can now renew their own pass. All they need to do is telephone Traveline on 01709 51 51 51. They should make clear that it is a disabled person's pass with visually impaired logo. Anyone who is visually impaired who also has a with carer logo (+C) should still contact SRSB
The AGM this year will be held on Tuesday June 27th
DESIGNATED BUS TIMES..
Can all VIP's and Guides be aware that we must adhere to designated bus/tram times. Recently someone who was coming on a walk arrived after the designated bus time and therefore did not go on that walk, that person was not happy and complained to one of the team leaders. If you are going to be late please ring the person who has planned and is leading the walk at least we will know what has happened to you. On behalf of the Committee David Cadet.
NEW APP FOR VIP'S...
iDentifi is a new App from Apple which enables Sight Impaired people to take a photograph of an object and then the App will download the photo image and read what it is. This is a free App for Apple users the links below will first show a video of the App in action and the second link downloads the App.Video of app https://youtu.be/zpAZHyZIzyg
And free App to download at Apple Store:https://appsto.re/gb/vgIQdb Please send any photos to email@example.com who will put them on our web site< Please send articles for Newsletter to Gail Fagan 0114 2667764 email firstname.lastname@example.org
For those of you who receive this newsletter by email fundraising competition cards are now available from SRSB please callJane on 0114 2722757.
A VISITOR FROM EXETER UNIVERSITY - On Wednesday 8th February we were joined by Dr Sarah Bell a young lady from Exeter University in Truro, who is engaged in a research project which is examining the role of nature based settings in promoting a sense of wellbeing amongst people with visual impairments. She was a delightful lady and very knowledgeable in Visual Impairments and asked lots of questions. She was a very well trained sighted guide and had her training with Guide Dogs as she has registered for the "My Guide" service which involves taking out VIPs who do not wish to use a guide dog or white cane thus preventing isolation for a lot of people. I know a gentleman who uses this service twice per week and it is invaluable to him. Sarah also walks with people with Dementia. It is lovely to have such wonderful young people walking with us and I hope to meet her again on future walks.
Sarah's comments... I just wanted to say a big thank you for a fab walk today it was super to meet you all and everyone was so welcoming! I've just been scribbling down the stories that people shared with me and 8 pages later I was still writing! I found the Footsteps Ramble film too which is lovely. Looking forward to coming back again in the Spring and will be in touch in the meantime.OBITUARIES...
Ted Ellerton, founder member of our walking group sadly died Sunday 1st January. Jill Thompson and his carer Clare were with him and he died peacefully. On a recent visit to Ted he told me how he treated himself as a 60th birthday present climbing Mont Blanc with ice picks and crampons. He also slept in snow holes and in the summer after a long hike slept out under the stars with his rucksack for a pillow. Of his time in the National Service, he described how he had cleaned up in the concentration camps, and how this had affected him years later. Earlier this year he was presented with a medal "Legion D'Honneur"
Some years later he was driving home and looking forward to his Sunday ramble. He went to bed, and the next morning he was blind. After his shock, and yes he admitted to bitterness. He still wanted to walk, so with Jill, they both approached the RA of which Ted was a member. He knew the people in the group and the SVIWG (Sheffield Visually Walking Group) was formed. Ted acquired his Guide dog, Emma, and moved to Dronfield where he joined the Derbyshire VI walking group so we did not see much of him, although we were still in touch.
18 months ago a few of us celebrated Ted's 90th birthday with him. When Ted was no longer able to walk long distances he and his carers took him out most days for a 3 to 4 mile walk, a new carer came along (a young man) and Ted asked him if he had any waterproofs as he went out in all weathers.
What a man. He faced up to all that life threw at him and survived. What a pity he did not write it down. We do not know of any funeral arrangements yet, but please let me know if you wish to go.
Thank you - Gail
MICK CHARLESWORTH'S FUNERAL BY ERIC ANDREWS
Mick was completely blind resulting from a car accident before I met him. I joined SviwG around 11 years ago and met Mick on a very bad day to be walking up Kinder Scout, the weather had been very wet and the mountain was very boggy. Near the summit we found walking in streams the best way, I was walking with Mick and a guide when Mick tripped and finished almost full length into the black water of the stream despite best efforts of his guide Jon and myself. The ground level adjoining the streams was often a couple of metres above the stream which we often had to climb out. We had to form a chain of helpers to achieve this, often taking several attempts to get out, it was so slippery. The final obstacle was to wade across a river in flood to reach the guides cars parked at the start of this walk, this had been thee most challenging walk, the guides cars were very messed up by muddy passengers. Mick never complained, he was made of sturdy stuff and impressed everyone who witnessed his gritty No Problem attitude.
When I became Chairman I introduced lots of different activities which Mick joined i.e. Walking Holiday in Austria - Mick was one of the first to join the team and one of the first to cause a problem i.e. when passing through Airport Security where we had to remove wrist watches etc and place any metal items into trays to be collected once we had passed through magnetic detectors. Mick refused to take off his watch, which was very special to him. Eventually Security allowed him through but took him into a room where he was strip searched. On the return Mick did take off his watch!
Mick had a garage where he trained to keep fit for his running and tandem riding, he used to take part in the Sheffield Half Marathon and he was awarded the MAN OF STEEL 2008 TROPHY which is presented by the organisers, to the most exceptional disabled fundraiser running with a guide. This Trophy was placed in a prominent position in the SRSB Reception for months. Sarah his daughter also used to run with her dad training. We used to have groups riding tandems, most of the tandems were privately owned, we rode around the Derwent Dams, Clumber Park, and The Wetlands, where Mick had a choking incident. Good job we had a nurse (his daughter) on board!
Mick was still a very good cyclist, last year we rode tandems around the Manchester Velodrome, I remembered Mick telling me some time ago that he had done this. I would have loved to have him in my team but sadly he was no longer fit enough due to injuries and surgery in recent years. Mick used to tackle our long walks with the rangers, we used to meet at Queens Head pub side of Sheffield bus Interchange. On one occasion I volunteered to bring him to the meeting point. The plan was for him to walk to the top of his road and catch the no.57 bus, which I would be on. I had forewarned the driver that I would get off the bus and help Mick aboard, unfortunately Mick was no where to be seen but my eyesight was poor and I started to shout where are you Mick? Everyone on the bus was then looking, after several minutes, no sign of him, I boarded the bus thanked the driver and the passengers, that was the first and last time I tried this method.
There were many other activities that Mick enjoyed. Canoeing in Canadian canoes which was a good laugh but we all got wet. Mick enjoyed Gliding but I advised his pilot not to let Mick have a go with the controls. After walks I sometimes took Mick home, he guided me, I just guided him around obstacles like street lamps etc. I should not have been doing this with my poor eyesight but it worked out fine due to Mick's good memory of street layouts. Upon arrival, I used to phone my wife to collect me. Mick was very popular with some of our female guides especially when they gave him affectionate hugs. His smile showed what a power of good this did - his smile was from ear to ear ANY ACHES OR PAINS SEEMED TO DISAPPEAR. I believe this sort of treatment should be introduced into the NHS. MICK WAS Feeling good every time after this treatment, maybe it could be called the Charlesworth treatment?
During the last few years Mick was unable to take part in long walks but due to kindness of some guides they took him out and Norman especially deserves a medal - taking Mick shopping on Saturdays in addition to walks. Mick will be remembered and missed.
Farewell Mick from Eric and all in Sviwg.
GROUP HOLIDAY SEPTEMBER BERWICK ON TWEED... Thank you so much to all of the Guides who recently attended the holiday in Berwick on Tweed for their considerable help and assistance throughout the 5 day break which was so memorable. It is through yourselves that the Visually Impaired are able to enjoy themselves and not to have any anxieties, mobility issues or worries whilst in unfamiliar surroundings. The walks were superb and your guiding skills certainly came to the fore especially on Saturday negotiating all of those steps which had varying degrees of depths to them. Nothing was too much trouble and you most certainly put yourselves around to accommodate us and we are most grateful and appreciative to you all. Even the weather improved following a misty commencement to the holiday and it was invigorating to be able to dip my toes in the cold North Sea a couple of times.
Best wishes and thank you everyone, Ken Bower..
Finally a word from Barley. Thank you so much Janet for clambering out of bed early, calling for me and guiding me to the park where I could carry out my business and enjoy a sniff around before my breakfast. Woof! woof!
NEW MEMBER COMMENTS ON HER FIRST WALK ...
Dear All, I would like to say thank you for making me feel so welcome on my first walk. I had been given lots of positive information and feedback about the walking group, their activities undertaken and therefore it was easy to feel comfortable about going on my first walk. I found everyone friendly warm and welcoming and this encouraged me to feel better about meeting new people. Apart from the ascent at the end of the walk, it was easy going and I was glad that I managed to keep up with everyone, chatting easily and getting on well with my guides and having my independence using the sight that I have, knowing that there was a guide if I needed more support.
I look forward to getting to know you all and going on future Tuesday walks.
Thank you all again Anne Seaman.
We are very sad to report the death of another friend Mike Anderson died Tuesday 18th October after a sudden illness. Mike was mainly a Thursday walker and great friend of Mike Jackson and Paul Goodlad whose friendship spanned over 40 years and it is with this we must offer our condolences to his family and Mike and Paul. Mike also crossed Morcambe Bay with the group last September driving up early that Sunday morning doing the walk with us and then travelling back to Sheffield. Mike's funeral will take place Tuesday 1st November at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium 10.30am.
Once again we have to report the death of Vera Westlake one of our VIP members. Vera was one of the first VIP's to join the group and enjoyed walking with us for many years. We were all charmed by her stories of her early life in Ireland on the family farm and later her married life in Coventry and then when she first moved to Sheffield.
She was a feisty lady and great company, her funeral was Tuesday August 2nd we found out too late to publish in the last Newsletter. Her legacy lives on with her three sons their children and other family members; she was one of 10 children. Our condolences to her family on behalf of the SVIWG.
It is with deep sadness to report the loss of Peter Sunderland husband of Brenda who died Friday 3rd June.
Peter and Brenda were amongst the first Guides who stepped forward when Ted and Jill approached the RA some 16 years ago to come out with VIP's and guide them on walks. Peter and Brenda came out with the group for many years until ill health but still came along to our AGM meetings and Christmas lunches. They have always been dedicated supporters of our group for which I will always be grateful for their help in starting our fledgling group.
On behalf of the SVIWG may we offer our condolences to Brenda and her family.
CREATURE COMFORTS "ON YER BIKE"...
I love my blankets and I love my bed.
I don't like strangers.
I mess with their head.
One of them spoils me another keeps me snug.
When I get a ball they feel the tug.
I climb on their beds and sneak out to surprise them.
I'm not fat - running around all day with those stones whilst my owners are tired as bones.
I love my comforts and my meals on tap but when they leave me there's such a big gap.
When it's raining I stay in the pap - I like my treats and don't mind if I am disciplined because wherever I am I am a citizen.
I lay on their beds and always get fed.
I don't like other dogs - I like them to think I am tops.
So I like my comforts as I am a creature of habit and if you have a ball I will quickly nab it.
On yer bike if you are like me - I said on yer bike with thee.
This may be rather soppy but after all I'm only little Puppy....
by Carol Forrester
On the 8th of November at the 65 bus stop to Foolow a small number of the V.I.P walking group joined Ann Allen her sons and family members at the interchange. We planned to get off the bus at Eyam and walk across the fields to Foolow, arriving at Foolow the plan was to scatter Jack's ashes in the dry stone wall where he had spent a lot of his working days. I knew Jack mainly for his organising of 2 sessions a year, showing anybody who was interested how to build a dry stone wall! He went to a lot of trouble by providing tough gloves, hammers, buckets and a "Tankard Trophy" for the best effort of the day. This gave us the opportunity for a new interest and to learn a new skill, Mary Collins was judged best on our first outing and really the only true winner, after this Jack cleverly picked a different winner every time so no one ever won it twice (more kings and queens for a day)
When we arrived on site at Foolow Ann's son Adrian was working on the wall and in the centre he fitted a brass plaque which had been supplied by the farmer who Jack had been working for, inscribed with names and dates. This fitted in place perfectly (well done Adrian). By this time quite a crowd had gathered, mostly holiday friends of Ann and Jack and other family members, some from far afield as Milton Keynes and deepest Lancashire. Adrian scattered Jack's ashes in the heart of the wall and then completed building it, a few words were spoken by friends and family, then as Jack would have said retire to the Bull (pub) for lunch.
MY FAVOURITE THING
My favourite thing is love, because without it how would we cope.
It causes mayhem and heartache consequences and heartbreak.
There is the unconditional love - there is a love that grows - and a love that turns to hate.
Love can be crippling and cruel selfish and a tool.
Without it though there would be no feeling and no compromise and how would we live?
Love is my favourite thing it gives you pleasure, hate and regret.
It makes you cynical and frustrated,
it can tear you apart and do your head in.
Some people haven't grasped it and others counteract it.
If there was no love there would be nothing, even though it's mixed up and exciting.
The adrenalin keeps you going and makes the world enticing - so if you have it and it feels real - use it and abuse it, but don't loose it.
Love is my favourite thing but it's Christmas that really is my thing.
MY 80TH BIRTHDAY PARTY
I wish to thank all of you who have given me such a wonderful birthday. Some could not come but sent presents while so many of you came to my party. You have given me so many boxes of sweets and biscuits that I don't know where to start, let alone where to store them. There are so many bottles of wine and brandy that I am bound to become an alcoholic and love it. I must say a special thanks about the birthday card that made me jump out of my skin when I opened it and then there was the coffee mug that suddenly spoke a greetings from the Queen, went on to have her speak to Phillip and then started with the anthem. I have been playing with the speaking portion of the cup and have finally learned how to shut the Queen up. All the cards and presents are great.
I would like to say a particular thank you to Mary Collins who worked so hard getting me a desk. Finally I met her in town and went to a secondhand warehouse. I found just what I wanted and It was delivered the same afternoon. In one day I have all my machinery on top of it. I can now magnify your cards and if I get a letter I can have another machine read it to me. The antique wooden desk has five drawers which I am filling and I can sit comfortably at the desk. As there was more than £100 left over I will put this towards buying a small Gteck Hoover to match my big one. Thank you so much Mary for all your efforts and I thank all of you who gave so generously to Mary's collections.
Thank you all who came to my party and those of you who worked so hard to give me a really great 80th birthday. If you know anyone who will not receive this newsletter, please pass this message on to them. Cheers for now, as I sip my brandy! BETSY
THE DAY I BLEW THE WHISTLE...On the Wednesday of the Visually Impaired Walking Group's holiday on the Isle of Man we all congregated at the railway station in Douglas. We were to board the steam train bound for St Mary's, where we would alight and meet up with ramblers of the island to commence a 6 mile coastal walk. It was brilliant standing by the open window hearing the train puffing and rattling away and smelling the coke along - feeling the soot on your face as the train hurtled towards our destination.
SVIWG ISLE OF MAN 2015 HOLIDAY...
I hope everyone who went on the holiday enjoyed it as much as I did, the walks were superb and the weather was exceptional.
As we were such a large group some stayed in a hotel and others in The Kings B&B. Breakfast at the Kings was like a slapstick, we had the three Stooges akA Philip, Mel & Paul, who entertained us every morning. Thanks for the laughs guys. Guide dog Willow melted the heart of our landlady and her reward was a sausage every breakfast time.
My thanks to Hilary for her amazing organisation and Christine who liaised with the IOM Ramblers and gave us some excellent walks. Where do we go next year?
Go back to top
Go back to Main Menu
SKY DIVE - YORKSHIRE DAY - 1st August 2015
So the day had come, ans was I nervous? No, (not at first anyway). I really thought it would be a piece of cake. We had arrived at 9.15 a.m. at Hibaldstow Airfield, just outside Brigg, Lincolnshire. This is where the highest sky jumps in the UK are carried out. I was amazed how many people there were, the sky was never without parachutes for more than 20 minutes. I was called for a briefing, so I left my party. We were informed about the basic things we should know,like this is dangerous and we could get killed, and then the instructor asked if everyone was happy? I couldn't resist saying how could anyone be happy about getting killed. I was then given a ticket with a number. When this number was called I had to go and get my jump gear on. This consisted of a white boiler suit with reinforced knees and elbows, plus a leather helmet and goggles and gloves.
I was puzzled at first because of the numbers that were being called, then found out this was for food orders! When my number was called, I then met my instructor/tandem guy. I was very impressed by his physique, obviously a very strong guy, which filled me with confidence. He then fitted the harness to me, and he fits into the back of it. He has the parachute on his back - he also has a second chute for emergencies. I said that I guess he had never had cause to use this chute? He had to on nine occasions. I hoped I wouldn't be number 10!!
After a few photos we joined a vehicle which sped across the grass runway to our plane which was by then ready to go - we were the last to board. I climbed in, which involved a step about 2ft 6inches from ground, using a pull handle fixed to body of the plane. The only space was on the floor, and I was sitting at the side of the sliding door. The plane was packed like a tin of sardines, and I was going to be first out. I was rather concerned that no one was closing the door. The engine was only a short distance from the door and it was revving, causing a lot of noise and a draught. We started to pick up speed and took-off before the door was closed. We took quite a long time to get up to 15,000 ft and then the door was opened again. The guy opposite me was the photographer, and he politely told me he would walk over me as he needed to be first out. Wasn't too painful.
Now there was a lot of wind plus noise. My partner had told me beforehand that I would be pulled up onto his thighs and our harness would have to be very tight. Now I realised why he had such strong arms. Then he threw me through 45 degrees so my legs finished through the door opening and straight out into space. Then with one mighty push we were out into the clouds, wind and noise. I seemed to be spinning turning head over heels, and felt very dizzy. I thought we were going to collide with a ghost (but he must have been the photographer). I didn't like it. It reminded me of going on the Bobs at Belvue a lifetime ago - we were in the front car and that put me off for ever!
Now for those who like those funfair rides this is for you. We were dropping at 120/125 mph. When the parachute opened I was feeling much better and if only I could see, I'm sure I would have enjoyed the last 2000 ft even more. Our landing was spot on. My legs out horizontally and my partner landed his feet first. And that was all there was about it.
Thanks all who sponsored him. See the movie on SRSB Facebook and youtube
https://www.youtube.com/user/SRSBcharity Facebook as well at
Go back to top
Go back to Main Menu
ANOTHER ERIC STORY
My son Fraser and his pal Paul have possibly completed a really tough challenge. From Sheffield Cathedral to Paris (Eiffel Tower), Pedalling all the way (including across the Channel) Bikes down to Rye on the South Coast, then swap to their sooped up Pedalow, fitted with an outboard motor to give them extra speed when required. Last time I received a report they had completed the 30 mile crossing and had to have help to get their pedalow out of the French harbour because they were so exhausted. Then were on their way to Paris.
I believe this will be a first. Fundraising for Cancer Research. Full story to follow.
MEMORIES OF JACK ALLEN .....
On the 9th August Jack Allen, a long standing member of Sheffield Visually Impaired Walking Group, died of motor neuron disease at the age of 69. Jack guided for us only on Sundays as he was busy during the week as a dry stone wall builder out in Foolow. When he came, he always had his wife Ann (who is visually impaired) with him. Also Ann may be remembered as a runner in the Sheffield Half Marathons when I collected on her behalf for funds which we gave to our club. She ran her last marathon a few years ago when it was cancelled because no water was delivered for the runners. Since this time Ann has had a new knee and is advised not to run again. Jack and Ann were a loving couple who had been married for 34 years. Each had an unsatisfactory first marriage, but Ann has five sons and Jack leaves a son and daughter. Ann will suffer terribly without Jack.
More than a year ago Jack developed some symptoms, mainly headaches, shaking and fainting spells that seem to have been linked to his disease. He spent two months in the Hallamshire Hospital this year and Ann was thankful that her new knee enabled her to visit him everyday. Then he was allowed home, and after a week they went to Skegness on their most loved annual holiday, staying in a caravan, surrounded by friends and family members. Jack was pushed around in a wheelchair. They were so glad they had been able to go on this holiday. However, within a week of returning, Jack died during the night. The problems after the death fell on Ann's shoulders. His funeral took place on 25th August, and while some of you may have been able to attend the funeral. We all of us send best wishes to Ann.
Some may remember Jack as the person who organised stone wall building competitions, usually twice a year. These took place at least for ten years including early events taking place on farms north of Sheffield. We took the bus to Foolow and during the morning those competing would work extremely hard under the tutoring of Jack. After the winner was proclaimed, we sprinted to the Bull's Head for lunch and drinks before returning on the bus back to Sheffield. In 2008, one of Ann's sons presented the metal trophy to Jack to give to the winner of each event and another son took the trophy to have the next name and date etched on it. The first winner was Mary Collins along with the date 2008. Each winner kept the trophy until the next winner was proclaimed and then the new winner received it. Mary will keep this trophy as was requested by Jack. There are thirteen names on the trophy.
Jack will be missed as a fun loving character bringing up the rear of our Sunday rambles. We hope Ann will start coming out walking with us on many occasions.
Best wishes, Ann, from all of us and keep plodding along with that new knee.
BLIND TALK AT BRAMLEY SCHOOL...
In March Alan and Sandra, along with their dogs Mindi and Zimba, visited Bramley Junior School to give the children an insight into life with poor or no vision. There were about 60 children in two sessions who were enthralled by Alan and Sandra's presentation and even more enthralled by Zimba the German Shepherd and Sandra's black labrador Mindi. The dogs were very well behaved as were Sandra and Alan! Alan explained that German Shepherd dogs were the first to help visually impaired people but now Labradors were very popular.
All the children had interesting questions about training, and how the dogs knew where to go, and why there were different coloured sticks. Sandra, who became blind when she was 3 years old, explained that white sticks were for blind people whilst red and white were for deaf and blind. Sandra could also use the stick as a guide when her dog was unwell.
Alan spoke about the harnesses for the dogs and Braille machines. The talk was a complete success and everyone learnt something new, and the dogs - well - woof woof!
by Peter Blackwell
(Alan was an original member of the walking group, but now runs his own business, along with Sandra, computer training and teaching Braille. You can visit their web site - www.eyecan.org.uk
Go back to top
Go back to Main Menu
"That's you," said my wife.
I was telling her about my first outing with the SVIWG and my first go at guiding. For sticking my elbows out - which is what she was referring to and what I was told I'd done - is my giveaway that I'm feeling anxious. Joining a new group is not something I find easy, it's something I tend to shy away from; hence my raised anxiety but I'd read about this group in the Guardian newspaper and it said it was always seeking new guides. So I thought I'd give it a go. I enjoy walking, much of it with a friend who's become increasingly visually impaired over the years and whilst I've become 'time-rich' in retirement, I didn't want anything too regular, too work-like.
Well, all my fears were groundless. I've now had three outings, twice on a Thursday and once on a Wednesday and each time I've felt thoroughly welcomed. I've met people who are friendly, attentive, respectful and generous in their helpfulness; interested but not demanding. I've had enjoyable days out, come home more tired than I could have anticipated and been taken on routes new to me in areas I thought I knew so well.
The recent morning guide training event I also attended was really helpful. How easy it is to perform a guiding don't but I do hope I've stopped sticking my elbows out now! And I hope too that I'll be improving on some of those do's.
My experience of joining SVIWG as a guide has been so positive, far more so than I'd ever imagined. I can only say it's an interest for me that I'm sure I will continue.... Mike (Wilson)
Go back to top
Go back to Main Menu
FORGE DAM BENCH IN THE MEMORY OF LEV
A bench has been constructed close to Forge Dam in the memory of Lev, who sadly died in 2013. Perhaps members could look out fro the bench when walking in the area.
SCAFEL PIKE CHALLENGE - 2014 - FUNDRAISING FOR SRSB AND SVIWG
Our SVIWG team of 14 met at SRSB on 26 September 2014, to borrow one of their mini buses. Our team: Visually impaired - Susan Hill, Hillary Myers, Alan Rolfe and Eric Andrews and Guides - Christine Hewitt, Margaret Patrick, Joyce Harrison, Anne Rolfe, David Kayley, Steve Myers (driver), Norman Pearson, Brett Marsh, Peter Blackwell and David Cadet. Everyone had a soft holdall and rucksack, which nicely filled our mini bus, and away we went.
All expenses are paid for by the above members of our group. We arrived at our accommodation for the next two nights at Santon Bridge Inn. The following morning breakfast was served at 8am and then we were off in our bus to start of Scafel Pike. Here we met up with our Leader, Jeremy and his pal David the back marker. Our route was the same as that used by all the people attempting the challenge of climbing the Three National Peaks within 24 hours. Our challenge was just to prove a Visually Impaired Walking Group could also do it (in previous years we had scaled Snowdon and Ben Nevis).
The weather was fair dry, and our timing started from where we parked the bus in the National Trust Car Park. The start was relatively easy, a gentle slope with rocks and grass, with brown sheep grazing. We crossed a footbridge over a dried up river then the going started to get steeper with more rocks. Gradually, we ran out of grass and now there were no sheep, only rocks and boulders - and no path, just more and more rocks and boulders! Small cairns appeared which presumably were the only sign that we were on the right route. It was very difficult going for everyone but especially for the visually impaired.
Our guides did their best to guide us zig zagging to try and find easiest routes and most manageable rocks to clamber over. The weather was changeable, windy then light rain. Brett gallantly loaned me his jacket, as I had left mine in the wardrobe, and poor Brett had been overheating pulling me over rocks. Eventually we were in the clouds, with very poor visibility (for everyone)!. Apparently on rare occasions there are wonderful views but not today. We had reached the Summit, so we stayed on top to eat our food but not for long - it was freezing. I asked Jeremy if there was an easier way down. The answer was NO. It was just longer, as our route was almost straight up, so down we started.
My level of fitness let me down. I had sprained my ankle a couple of years ago coming down Winnats Pass, and then I had damaged my knee on a fall on Ben Nevis. Both these old injuries did not like Scafel Pike and were giving me a lot of grief. I could not see how my colleagues were managing, but I am sure they were also struggling. However, after a couple of bad falls, where both my guide and myself finished horizontal, we had to change our method. We had been lucky not to sustain any serious injuries, from about 2/3 of the way down I was guided down with a guide either side of me. This proved a very good method, and there were no further falls. I OWE MY GUIDES A DEPTH OF GRATITUDE.
We were all very pleased to get back to our Inn, where we thoroughly enjoyed a pint or two, and thanked Jeremy and David for all their help. The best memories of this challenge for me were the great comradeship, the humour and our Inn. The food was excellent and so was Jennings beer. Our time was 9 hours 4 minutes and 29 seconds. At the time of writing the funds raised are almost £1500. eric andrewsGo back to top
MY SCAFEL PIKE CHALLENGE 1
For those of you who did not know - I didn't really want to go - I said to Christine its a no - Then we went to Llandudno - Whilst we were there, some words of kind - Two people sort of changed my mind - Now I have to overcome - Scafel Pike bring it on - Saturday morning half past nine - At the base to start the climb - Nervous, anxious and excited - If I do this I shall be delighted - We went up and it was rough - We came down and it was tough - Back at base after the hike - We had conquered Scafel Pike - Inner thoughts and not out loud - Feeling rather chuffed and proud - Not just for me but everyone - VIP's and Guides well done. David Cadet
SCAFELL PIKE CHALLENGE 2..
Wainwright said "The ascent of Scafell Pike is the toughest proposition the collector of summits is called upon to attempt". Well - we did it. On your behalf and to raise money for SRSB. 4 VIPs and 10 guides stepped up to the plate. It took us 9 hours 4 minutes and 29 seconds to climb England's highest mountain and get back to our starting point. It was hard, hard, hard with very steep, rocky, uneven paths, a field of boulders to scramble over and a final pull over a long, steep and slippery scree slope and then we had to get down again. No easy task for VIPs and guides alike. Thank you to all those who supported us by taking part in the 'Guess the Time' competition or who have already donated money. If you missed the completion - there is still time just to make a donation to SRSB. Just make sure SRSB know it is money for the Scafell Pike Challenge. All contributions will be gratefully received. Christine (One very tired and aching Chairlady!)Go back to top
Do you receive the Sheffield Talking News?
It is produced weekly on tape, CD or memory stick. You can be provided with a boombox on which to play a memory stick. You simply receive a yellow plastic envelope containing the newsletter and when you have read the newsletter, which consists of news from the Star and other local publications and some dates of upcoming events, you simply return the recording to the yellow envelope, turn over the address label and pop the envelope into a post box.
There is also a magazine which is included on the recording which is replaced every two months with items from a variety of publications plus a quiz.
If you would like to try the talking newspaper either ring the STN organisation on 278 0440 and leave your name and phone number on their answer machine or ring Betsy Wilson and leave the same information on my answering machine if I am out.