Join us in celebrating 165 years of iSightCornwall

October 14, 2021 12:26 pm

iSightCornwall is celebrating 165 years of helping blind and partially sighted people.

Cornwall’s oldest charity was formed on September 17th 1856 to help local miners who lost their sight due to accidents and the dangerous working conditions. 165 years later the charity has changed names a few times, has helped generations of people across Cornwall and is still striving to help anyone who needs it.

To mark this landmark date, iSightCornwall has taken part in a range of celebrations and fundraisers with more fun planned for the whole anniversary year!

Bright for Sight

iSightCornwall staff mark the milestone by wearing bright clothes

On the anniversary day itself, we teamed up with Pirate FM to ask people to put on their brightest colours and take part in the inaugural Bright for Sight day.

Schools, youth groups, local businesses and even other charities all joined in and shone bright to help raise money and awareness for the charity.

Speaking before the event, iSightCornwall Chief Executive, Carole Theobold explained: “Bright colours are particularly important for people with limited sight as they are easier to be seen. We are asking people across Cornwall to show their support by being bright for sight whether they’re working from home, in an office, at a school or out and about in the community.”

London Marathon Runners 2021

On our anniversary year we were very lucky to have not one but two teams of fundraisers taking part in the London Marathon.

iSightCornwall's marathon running team Claire and Rachel running on a trackThe first team was made up of partially sighted runner Claire Parkyn and her guide and best friend Rachel Taylor-Simmonds. The pair have been training since 2019 when they decided to take on the challenge to help support the charity and to also raise awareness about Usher Syndrome, a condition which effects both sight and hearing.
Claire, who has the syndrome, has little vision left and relies on hearing aids and a white cane to move around safely.
Initially, Claire began running on a treadmill but did not have the confidence to take on the obstacles, traffic and potholes around her local village to move to outdoor exercise.

But thanks to Rachel’s encouragement, Claire gave outdoor running a go and before the pair knew it they had signed on to take on the London Marathon in support of iSightCornwall.

They faced low branches, bumpy surfaces and on one particular memorable occasion, a group of cows but they managed to train to run the distance.
Sadly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the marathon was cancelled in 2020 and rearranged in 2021.

This means the duo, who call themselves My Guide and Me, have been training and trying to keep themselves marathon ready for almost two years.
Claire and Rachel were finally able to take on the challenge in its virtual form by running the distance around Mitchell where they live.

The pair have raised an incredible £4,700 for the charity and were supported by their friends, family and the local community.

Peter Brodey poses with his London Marathon medal after the run

Claire and Rachel said: “After two years of training being hampered by Covid and injuries we finally completed our marathon. It wasn’t the marathon we set out to complete two years ago – running with thousands of other people past all the London landmarks – but we did it. Thanks to everyone who has supported us over these past two years and who cheered us on today.”

In London itself, local teacher Peter Brodey represented iSightCornwall and completed the epic run in just over 3.5 hours.

Peter has been juggling his training with teaching at Penrice Academy in St Austell and has raised an incredible £1,500 for the sight loss charity.

Peter said: “I have a family history of sight loss and eye conditions and wanted to support a small, Cornish charity that has a large impact on the lives of local people. This was my first London Marathon and it was an amazing experience. I was smiling so much for the first 20 miles – it got a bit tougher after that!”

Carole Theobald, Chief Executive from iSightCornwall, said: “Congratulations to Claire, Rachel and Peter for their incredible achievements. The money they have raised will help fund vital services for people living with sight loss in Cornwall. We can’t thank them enough.”

Skydive

iSightCornwall member and long-time supporter, Gary Oliver will be taking to the Cornish skies to help raise money for iSightCornwall’s 165th birthday. Gary, who lost his sight at a young age, decided to take his fundraising to new heights to help us celebrate our 165th birthday.

He said: “I’ve been using iSightCornwall’s services for years, especially getting advice on different types of software, mobile phones and computers. They’ve been so helpful to me so I’m doing the skydive to give something back. If the charity disappeared there would be nothing.

“On a personal level, I want to do a skydive again because I enjoyed it so much last time and you don’t need to have sight to do it. It feels liberating to jump out of a plane. I get the feeling of freedom – my disability doesn’t matter in the slightest.”

iSightCornwall Chief Executive, Carole Theobald said: “We are so grateful for Gary for taking on this challenge and helping us celebrate our anniversary. It’s a particularly poignant day as it will mark 165 years to the day that the charity was first unveiled to the public in the press.
“Gary has already raised an incredible amount and we are so thankful for everyone who is showing him, and us, such support. If you are able to support his cause please take a look at his JustGiving page, all money raised in Cornwall stays in Cornwall.”

Gary originally planned to complete the skydive on the anniversary of the public reveal of iSightCornwall but strong winds has meant the jump had to be postponed. Gary has already raised £825 of his £1,000 target and is hoping to hit the total before the big day. Watch this space for the announcement of the new day! To help Gary reach his fundraising target, click here to open his JustGiving page in a new tab.

Gaming for Good

Earlier in the year, iSightCornwall team members Dom and Beth teamed up to help spread awareness about video games and their accessibility as well as encourage people who are blind or partially sighted to give the hobby a go.

Dom, who is visually impaired, has been a fan of video games his whole life and during the many livestreams on Twitch has given tips, tricks and advice on how he plays different genres of games.

Beth, who acts as a commentator and helps interact with the users in the chat during the streams, is also a fan of games and together they work to try different styles of games, test our their accessibility and also discuss ongoing news or debates within the gaming community regarding accessibility.

To celebrate iSightCornwall’s 165th anniversary the pair have decided to put on a marathon gaming stream from 2pm until 6pm on Saturday, October 16th. They will be playing some horror games, a new genre for the duo and trying to raise £165 for iSightCornwall to mark the occasion.

For more information on how to get involved with the Gaming for Good streams, click here to open their page on the iSightCornwall website in a new tab.

Get involved

If you would like to help us celebrate our birthday or would like more information on upcoming events or fundraising projects, contact us by emailing info@isightcornwall.org.uk or call 01872 261110

A donation, however small, can change someone's life. Thank you for your support.

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