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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 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


JOHN BATER - John would like to say thank you to everyone for their good wishes during his stay in hospital. John is now at home recuperating and relaxing in his new reclining chair after his heart operation. Three days after his operation John was busy arranging the Rangers walk in March for the group! He is getting stronger day by day and looks forward to joining us again on the walks. GET WELL SOON JOHN.

CONGRATULATIONS once again to Martin Wilson. He has been voted Disabled Coach of the Year. Well done once again Martin.

ITEMS TO GIVE AWAY... I have 3 water bottles for walking and a large black framed pull along holdall, which I no longer use and am happy to give them to anyone. If interested in having any of these items please contact me either text my mobile 07946 382896 or email me at megdpatrick@gmail.com.

DATE FOR DIARY... AGM Thursday June 7th to be held at SRSB Mappin Street. See future newsletters for more details.


Congratulations to Stan Wainwright who has received a cheque courtesy of "Skipton Building Society" Pinstone Street branch of 100. Stan is busy along with Eric raising funds for SVIWG so well done Stan for this amazing amount. Please visit the SVIWG web site to see the photo of Stan being presented with the cheque. www.sviwg.co.uk

Jean Smith friend of Eileen one of our guides is busy knitting leg warmers (gaiters) for our group and selling them for 5, proceeds going to SVIWG. This is a lovely gesture from Jean and a perfect time as it will be very muddy on our walks for a few months now. To order a pair please contact Mary Collins 01142810749. Thank You Jean.

Our thanks to Betsy for the 10 donation for the coffee funds at the Shoulder of Mutton this is a very generous gesture as Betsy did not have any. Thank you Betsy.

Does any member have any ideas regarding Fundraising for SVIWG this year? If so please contact Chris Hewitt 0114 2366685 or hewitt.c4@sky.com


OUR GRENOSIDE WALK with three visitors from Rotherham.

On Tuesday 5th December, 19 of us arrived at Grenoside on a chilly winters day to do what turned out to be a beautiful walk, meticulously planned and lead by David Cadet. Our three guest walkers from Rotherham, who intend to do their first VIP walk for their area this Thursday, commented on the friendly welcome they received and how much they had learned from everyone in one short day. Our wonderful group continues to thrive even on a cold winters day. Credit to all involved. Angela Elliott.

CONGRATULATIONS to Lynne Wheater who has won a competition featured in the issue "Good Neighbours News". Lynne has won a small anount for herself and nominated SVIWG to also be the recipient of 100. Well done Lynne and keep on doing the competitions!

NOVEMBER and earlier

Congratulations to Martin Wilson who has won the Blind Cricketer of the year in the Partial Blind category in association with British Blind Sport. Well done Martin.

FROM THE CHAIR... Today I have been to Lightwood Driving Centre to lend my support to Carol Adams who was doing the "Blind Drive Challenge" raising funds for SRSB and SVIWG. I arrived at 1.30pm only to find that Ali, Riaz and Martin Wing were also taking on the challenge. Ali and Martin had already driven when I got there. Riaz went next and he did well. Next it was Carol who got into the drivers seat. Her husband Nic was allowed to ride in the back to give his support. Carol started slowly but on return drove at a good rate of knots for a VIP. Lewis Hamilton - who is he - compared to our VIPS who are to be commended for their brave efforts. Congratulations to our 4 members. Well done you. David

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

BETSY'S WALK... Hello everyone, I wish to say thank you to all of you who came on the ramble that was arranged for me at the start of October. Thank you, David, plus the large number of you who came on the ramble.

I found the walk quite difficult but it was a great walk. John and I came straight down from Stannington and then met the rest of you, where you crossed Rivelin Road. We couldn't believe our eyes when so many of you appeared. I found the rest of the walk quite difficult. Although I had been along the river path many times in the past, now I find it difficult. My vision has dropped a lot and my guide had to work hard to keep me upright over the many stones. Also, the final climb set my poorly back complaining but finally we reached the pub. I thoroughly enjoyed the meal at the pub and it was a great relief to sit down and enjoy a beer. I was sorry, however, not to have had the chance to speak with all of you. I had arranged for my stepdaughter to pick me up from the pub as I guessed that my back might be worn out by this time. I was glad to be picked up although I knew that I would miss the final part of the ramble. However, pain or no pain, it was great to get out walking and I hope you will be able to organise more walks for me. Thank you, all of you. Betsy.


Chris has been contacted by a company making a new ITV1 programme called The Nations 100 favourite walks. They are looking for walkers across the UK with interesting stories to tell about their favourite walks. The programme would have a mix of local stories set in their favourite walks and there will also be various celebrities. The film crew are looking for VIP's who have an emotional connection with the following areas. Kinder Scout, Mam Tor, Stannage Edge and Dove Dale. There are many more on the list so for further information please contact Linsey Hammond direct on 01619520753.


As a new V.I.P. member to the SVI walking group, I was soon taken-aback how welcome I was made to feel with friendly Guides and members from all walks of life. I am so glad I joined the group it has given me a new sense of freedom and opened up a whole new world for me that I didn't think would be possible being registered blind. All the guides are excellent with brilliant walks around Sheffield and the outlying areas. You will never feel worried or stressed about obstacles as the guides are well trained and very descriptive. The guides are frequently rotated which gives them a rest and keeps things fresh. My first walk was around the outlying area through Chatsworth Park - it was a fantastic day out. I felt relaxed, safe and at the end of the walk I thought I'd had a mini holiday. My well-being felt topped up and revitalised with a new purpose to help others in the V.I community to come walking. I would like to thank all the members, but personally thank Gail for encouraging me to join the walking group. Thank you everyone for making me feel welcome, safe, and making me feel so happy again.

To everyone who couldn't come on Steve Brown's walk on the 20th Sept starting at Chinley Station and ending at New Mills you missed a slice of heaven that is the only way The "Blind Baker" can describe what you missed out on. I hope steve will do the walk again as I enjoyed every minute I was there. Martin Wing.


Carol is doing a Blid Drive Challenge for SRSB Mappin Street on the 12th October. Would anyone like to sponsor her? Carol will bring out her sponsor form on the next Tuesday walk. Thank you all.


Sunday - We arrived outside the Saxonville Hotel adjacent to the Whitby FC Football Ground early, so we walked along the seashore to Sands End and then back via the cliff path. Four of the party attended a modern brass band concert which they thoroughly enjoyed. Each evening meal was served at 7 pm with a choice of 3 items for each course. There was a bar but no entertainment provided, a few individuals participated in a short walk afterwards and found a few public houses to visit.

Monday - Before we set off for the day, Mary and Janet kindly walked into Whitby to collect sandwiches for lunch. We travelled by coach to Saltburn where we were met by a couple of local ramblers who were to lead the walk. For 7.5 miles we walked along the sands via Marsk through to Redcar, where we visited the Lifeboat Museum which was very interesting. Sadly the trip up the vertical pier had to be postponed as it was closed.

Tuesday - By coach to Grosmont where the steam train was due to depart for Pickering. Some of us enthusiasts stood alongside the locomotive to see, hear and smell its departure. Paula from the local Ramblers Association lead the walk, taking the path from Grosmont to Goathland through a wooded valley and up a steady incline to Goathland station where we stopped for lunch. Some of the party dropped out at this point but others continued through an old Minors track onto the Yorkshire Moors then along to the pickup point where the coach was waiting. On arrival back at the hotel, Paul and I had a walk into Whitby calling at the Railway Station to enquire about times and prices to ride on the steam train.

Wednesday - This was planned as a free day where anyone could do what they wished. The weather overnight had been atrocious and it was still very windy as we sat down for breakfast. The lady from the local Ramblers Association contacted Chris and terminated the schedule walk along the cliff tops. However Chris decided to go ahead and organise a walk for those interested. The party of 11 set off from the hotel to the Abbey incorporating the 199 steps. George and Andrew joined us previously having been dropped off via the coach. We initially had a look inside the church before setting off along the Clifton Way through Salt Wick Bay. We then walked alongside the Foghorn which warns ships how close they are to land then stopped for lunch at the lighthouse. David found a walking boot but no one in our party claimed it. We walked back to the Abbey mainly via road where we descended the 199 steps once more. At the bottom we decided to call and enjoy a well earned drink before browsing the shops then strolling back to the hotel. It was my birthday, although I thought I had managed to keep it quiet, until everyone sung happy birthday during the evening meal. I blame Face Book for giving me away, I was presented with a Pork Pie containing a candle on the top to blow out, plus a small birthday cake. I forgot about cake on table until the following morning but someone at the hotel must have mistaken it for rubbish and threw it away.

Thursday - Departed from hotel picking up cinder track route which is a disused railway track to Robin Hood's Bay via Howsker where we stopped for lunch. There were cycles for hire plus some disused railway carriages containing a toilet. Someone in the party pulled the flush, contents spilled all over the platform line. We continued along the path to Robin Hood's Bay spending a couple of hours at the resort. There were 111 steps to negotiate if people wished to walk into the centre, or a cobbled Road to negotiate as an alternative. It was hard work climbing back out of the centre to where the coach was waiting. We arrived back at the hotel early enough for a last walk along the beach. Spent the evening in the hotel.

Friday - Following breakfast plus packing the party set off bound for Sheffield, arriving back at approximately 1.15 pm having had a wonderful holiday with first class accommodation and good weather on the whole. Finally please may I thank Hilary for her hard work organising, planning and negotiating such a brilliant deal with the hotel. Thank you also to Chris and Margaret who kindly planned and reckid the walks prior to the holiday. Lastly on behalf of the Visually Impaired please may I thank the guides for all their hard work, assistance friendliness and support during the 5 day break, without you some of us wouldn't enjoy a holiday. Ken Bower

FROM OUR NEW CHAIRMAN CONCERNING GUIDE DOGS ON ORGANISED WALKS We are still discussing this subject at Committee level. For those who do not know we have a printed leaflet outlining all there is to know regarding guide dogs on organised walks. However, if any member has an opinion, no matter how trivial it may be, please speak to myself or any committee member. We can then collate your thoughts and opinions and add them to the information already in place. Thanking you. David.
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August's NEWS

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
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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!
Betsy Wilson

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.

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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

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.


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.
Michael Wilson

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


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.


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.

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.



photo of Ted with his medal 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.Teds 90th Birthday photo

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 with Mary and John Bater photoMick 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.

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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.

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.

You will be sadly missed by family and friends Jack so it's God bless and rest in peace. Derek Taylor

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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.
Carol Forrester


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.

The weather was dry and sunny, although somewhat breezy, as we set off along the planned route along the coast. You could hear the sea waves and various sounds of the sea life. Also there were magnificent views across the bay, and as we climbed higher the views became more spectacular.

We passed a monument dedicated to a tragic accident involving a plane crash claiming the lives of airman who's names, rank and age were engraved into the stone. Following lunch we came across a little hamlet with thatched roofed cottages. We were allowed access to a couple of them, in one were housed various parts of furniture and bricabrac which our ancestors used daily.

On concluding the walk at Port Erin we were given the choice of either catching a bus back to Douglas or travelling via the steam train. Naturally I chose the train, along with several others in the party. It was the 16.10, the last train which cruised into Douglas at around 17.05. One of our guides took me to the front of the train and asked the engine driver if it would be possible for me to climb up onto the footplate. He and the fireman agreed, and I hauled myself up onto the plate - immediately feeling the heat on my face. After handling the coal used to power the locomotive, the driver asked me if I would like to blow the whistle, which was operated to warn motorists stood at crossings that the train was approaching. Naturally I jumped at the chance, and when I climbed back onto the platform I felt 10 foot tall, and stayed that way for the remainder of the day!

Finally may I thank our brilliant dedicated loyal friendly and considerate guides for all of their assistance and hard work. Nothing was too much trouble for them. Without their output - the fantastic holiday experience wouldn't have been possible.

Ken Bower

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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

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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.

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.
Betsy Wilson

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

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"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)

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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.


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

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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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