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Please note Minutes of this years AGM can be found on the meetings page or click this link Meetings


Please send any photos for this website to chriswhittaker586@yahoo.co.uk
Please send articles for the SVIWG Newsletter to Gail Fagan 0114 2667764 or email gail.fagan@guidemail.co.uk

From time to time we take group photographs to update our web site and also SRSB's web site. Any members who do not wish their photos to be on the web site please contact Gail - details above.

This year's challenge was a 12 1/2 mile circular walk from Lower Bradfield around several reservoirs.
Below is a photograph of the group taking a well earned breather, in front of some the beautiful scenery that they passed during the walk.
Thank you to all those members who took part in this years Fundraising Challenge. I am just sorry that I couldn't Lead you all the way round because of my knee injury Well done to everyone and good luck with the sponsorship. I am very proud of you all.
FOOTNOTE: Thanks to Mike Wilson who took over leading the walk for us whilst David returned to Bradfield with members who were only doing the short walk.

The Group stop for a picture

On the 5th May 2019 I took part in the T20 finals day at Wolverhampton. This was called off the previous September due to bad weather conditions. There were four teams: Yorkshire VI, Somerset VI, Northamptonshire VI and Lancashire VI. Yorkshire VI was chosen to play Somerset VI in the semi-final which Yorkshire VI lost. Yorkshire took third place after winning the third playoff against Lancashire. At the end of the day after all matches were played, Somerset placed first and Northamptonshire placed second. Trophies were presented in the evening, and to my surprise I was awarded the Low sighted player of finals day for my bowling figures. My bowling figures against Somerset were 4 overs, 24 runs, no extras and 1 wicket. Against Lancashire my bowling figures were, 4 overs, 24 runs and no wickets. Martin Wilson.

Martin Receiving TrophyMartin Displays his Trophy


Eric's fund raising challenge this year was to climb Whernside (with the assistance of his son Fraser, and SVIWG members Christine and Steve).
At 736 metres, Whernside is the highest mountain of Yorkshire's Three Peaks, and as much of the route is quite rough underfoot, it was not easy for any of us. Luckily the weather was very kind.

Below are some of the photos from the day.
Whernside AscentEric and son Fraser at the Trig Point
Starting the DescendOn the way down

FROM THE CHAIR... When we come to the end of a walk some of our lovely VIP's may need assistance getting back to the bus/tram/train. If that assistance is required then please lend a hand even if it means extending your day a little. We are responsible to all of our members for keeping them safe please do what you can to help them.
. . . .
On a recent Sunday walk one of our sighted guides had to leave the walk for a comfort break, when trying to re-join the walk that member was involved in a road traffic accident, fortunately it was not serious. If any member leaves the walk for any reason please let the leader or back marker know, as we do not want this to happen again. Thank you David.
. . . .
Tuesday 19th March we visited Sherwood Forest courtesy of Sarah Bell who has been out walking with us on a few occasions as part of her research into Sensing Nature with a visual impairment. The Forest is now an RSPB reserve and they also have a new Visitors Centre. We were met by three delightful guides Jack, Gary and Indi, (we all loved Indi who was only 13). First we were shown around the Forest and also climbed into the Minor Oak I think about nine of us were in there. We then was shown a very old tree with a very large circumference and about 20 of us all stood around it touching each otherÕs hands to get a feel of the size. Much to everyone's delight we were allowed to touch and feel very carefully the Major Oak as Jack opened the barriers and we all stood around the Oak. Indi whose Sherwood Forest is his playground had never done this before. One of our members said she could remember sitting in the Oak when she was young. After Lunch we all marched off to Budby as the Guides said they had seen and heard Woodlarks singing that morning this bird is very rare and I have never heard one only on a CD or phone app. We marched over Heath and Scrubland where they nest but we were disappointed as they did not show or sing. This would have been the icing on the cake for me but in the Forest we was greeted by Song thrush which sang all the time we were there, Wrens, Green finch, Great Tits, Cold Tits, Blue Tits and Robins, Indi was excited to show us a Nut Hatch which was scrambling down a tree trunk gathering insects. The new visitors centre is remarkable very modern and disabled friendly also very good coffee. I heard one of our memberÕs say this was a perfect day as the weather was quite warm and still. Please visit Sarah's web site just search sensing nature Dr Sarah Bell as there are lots of interesting information about her work over the last three years, meeting various other groups including the Milton Mountaineers who have a visual impairment and climb mountains. On behalf of the SVIWG I would like to thanks Sarah for providing us with this opportunity to visit this lovely ancient Forest. Gail


NEW APP FOR IPHONE.... If you have an iPhone, you can download the free Google Maps app and then set up a simple widget to get that app to detect your next nearby bus! Step by step instructions for voice over users are to be found by tapping on the link: https://www.blindios.uk/google-public-transport-widget-iphone

Some of you may remember the delightful young lady Dr Sarah Bell who came out walking with us - she has sent us this link.
Sarah ran an event in Bristol in September around promoting more inclusive opportunities for adventure nature activities with sight impairment. We've uploaded a short edited podcast of some of the main discussions from the event to the Sensing Nature news page in case it's of interest at all!

Monday 9th to Saturday 14th September. There are rooms available for members of the walking group. We are staying at the St Tudno Hotel on the Promenade, Llandudno. Cost will be £300, 5 nights Dinner bed and breakfast, Coach transport during your stay, Driver & Waitress tips are included, Coach transport to & from Llandudno will be provided free to all members by SVIWG. There will be guided walks arranged for at least three of the 4 days. To reserve a place or for more information please contact Hilary on 01142306604. e-mail hilarymyers16@gmail.com

Martin and team in the Barbados

MARTIN'S STORY - Bowled over in Barbados - SRSB client and volunteer Martin Wilson has just achieved what must be every cricket fan's dream trip - an international tour against the West Indies. He spent ten days out in Barbados as a coach for the UK Women and Girls Visually Impaired Cricket Team.

"It's been a manic, whirlwind eighteen months. I'd not long been a coach when I was drafted in to train the UK team. As a VI cricketer I have spent years trying to get into the England squad but now I am a coach at international level - that's as good," said Martin, 56, who has very limited vision due to Stargardt Disease.

Martin played a key role on the coaching team for the squad of 18 women and girls, aged from 15 to 74, who travelled out to the Caribbean and came back celebrating success. "We beat them 4-1 so I would say that was very successful. We played 3 development matches and 2 International games. I have also been invited to go back and coach the West Indies team, which is quite a pat on the back for me, so I must have been doing something right even though I am visually impaired."

Martin believes that as a VI cricketer himself he has the edge over sighted coaches because he has a basic understanding of people's needs. "Everyone has different sight levels, different levels of fitness we start with the basics and build on that. We were complimented on how well organised our girls were."

His role as coach gives Martin a great deal of satisfaction because he believes that sport is a good way of encouraging visually impaired people to be independent.

"Taking girls on who have never been able to see a game of cricket and explaining this is the ball, these are the stumps, it's slow progress but then they get to play in an international game."

As well as going back to coach cricket in Barbados is also trying to help visually impaired children in schools in by sending out equipment for them. "The cricket kit we can help with but if anyone at SRSB has any sight aids they are not using magnifying glasses, talking watches, anything sitting in a cupboard they are not using if they could bring it in and I will arrange for it to be sent out. I made memories I will never forget and I would like to do something to help."


NEW APP FOR IPHONE.... If you have an iPhone, you can download the free Google Maps app and then set up a simple widget to get that app to detect your next nearby bus! Step by step instructions for voice over users are to be found by tapping on the link: https://www.blindios.uk/google-public-transport-widget-iphone

NEW DEVICE FOR MACULAR DEGENERATION... VR headsets that connect with a smartphone lets users see again A VIRTUAL reality headset has restored sight to people who are blind. While it didn't cure the physical cause of their blindness, the device lets people with severe macular degeneration resume activities such as reading and gardening - tasks they previously found impossible. View the article at

Listen to Microsoft's Soundscape App Creates a 3D Audio Map to Enhance Your Exploration in Podcasts. All you need is an iPhone 5s or newer and some stereo headphones to hear left/right cues!

MY BLIND DRIVE... Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to drive. This Blind drive was my first time. I thought I would only ever be a passenger. I awoke with a few nerves but I was raring to get behind the wheel. Even though I was nervous I still looked relaxed, the instructor making me feel at ease. I forgot to keep hold of the steering wheel but the car was still moving. It was so different to any dream I have ever had and for the Blind drive I felt so glad.

I would like to thank all who sponsored me for this challenge. Carol Adams


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:


Please send any photos to chriswhittaker586@yahoo.co.uk who will put them on our web site< Please send articles for Newsletter to Gail Fagan 0114 2667764 email gail.fagan@guidemail.co.uk

For those of you who receive this newsletter by email fundraising competition cards are now available from SRSB please callJane on 0114 2722757.


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 andrews


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


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!)

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Sheffield Talking News

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.

Betsy Wilson

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Articles for the website

If anyone would like to include anything on the website, or if you have any photographs of the group that you would like to show: www.sviwg.co.uk, please let me know. Christine Whittaker a synedramblers@gmail.com
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