Swaffham mayor blindfolded during walk

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The Mayor of Swaffham had a taste of what life is like for blind people when she toured the town’s market place blindfolded on Friday.

Councillor Anne Thorp donned the cover during the walk, which proved a real eye-opener when Swaffham Lions held their annual sight awareness day.

For nearly 100 years, Lions International have worked on projects designed to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eye health and eye care for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The day was held with the support of Guide Dogs and My Guide.

My Guide ambassador Kerry Bradshaw guided the councillor around the market to experience the difficulties that people with limited vision have in negotiating obstacles.

During the 15-minute walk, councillor Thorp became very aware of the A-frames and bollards that impeded her walk.

Mrs Bradshaw explained that My Guide can offer experts in the layout of street furniture to advise local authorities.

The Lions were also joined by Cynthia Easeman, from Hunstanton, who is partially sighted and her eight-year-old Guide Dog Olivia.

Cynthia told the Lions that Olivia was born at the kennels in Leamington Spa, and all the litter had names begin with O.

The Guide Dog organisation pays for all the food and vets bills which can cost up to £50,000 during the life of the companion dog.

The owner has to go through an assessment programme to ensure they can cope with a dog, four per cent of dog owners have no sight with the rest having limited vision.