"The Royal visit comes just as National Eye Health Week ends which is a lovely boost for us and builds on the awareness raised"
Ruth Lambert CEO N-VISION
Looking forward to seeing you, Ma’am!
Trustees, staff and volunteers are delighted that Her Royal Highness Sophie, Countess of Wessex GCVO will visit N-Vision, the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind, in October – and it’s great news for residents and clients at the charity’s Bosworth Place, Squires Gate, base too.
CEO Ruth Lambert said: “We feel very honoured to host a Royal visit, and in such good company too, the Grand Theatre and Blackpool Tower, both of which are celebrating milestone 125th birthdays this year.
“We’re only a little younger ourselves – the charity’s roots date back to 1910.
“Residents of our Princess Alexandra Home are thrilled to bits at the thought of The Countess’s visit and we hope that we get the chance to show off our Talking Newspaper studio and our Low Vision Centre.
“The Royal visit comes just as National Eye Health Week ends – which is a lovely boost for us and builds on the awareness raised.”
Residents of the home waved union flags in delight when staff broke the news of Her Royal Highness’s visit on October 1.
The message from royalists Walter White, 95, Alma Sheedy, 90, Margaret Barnes, 96, Marjorie Leaver, 94 and Harry Wilkinson, who’s in his late 80s, came loud and clear …
“Looking forward to seeing you, Ma’am.”
The Countess of Wessex, wife of Prince Edward, is known to be passionate about eradicating avoidable sight loss globally, as patron of Vision 2020: The Right to Sight and as global ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.
Earlier this year she helped Orbis UK begin the See My Future appeal in support of the blindness prevention charity’s sight saving work across the world. She has memorably remarked: “There is no smile quite like the one that is returned from eyes that once more can see.”
It is understood that The Countess of Wessex was moved by her daughter's vision problems - which arose from having been born prematurely and which have long since been corrected - to campaign on behalf of blind and visually impaired people around the world and raise awareness of avoidable sight loss.
CEO Ruth added: "N-Vision has, in the past, received visits from both Princess Alexandra and Princess Diana, and each occasion has provided a very special opportunity to raise awareness and demonstrate the latest services and support available to visually impaired clients and carers and highlight the outstanding care and commitment of the staff and volunteers."
The Princess Alexandra Home had two visits from namesake Royal HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent GCVO who officially opened the then-Blackpool and Fylde Society for the Blind’s residential home for visually impaired people over the age of 60, at Bosworth Place, Squires Gate, in April 1962, before returning in May 2002, almost 40 years to the day, to open the new look home, which had been developed with Lottery funding.
"Princess Alexandra was utterly gracious and elegant," recalls care services manager Elaine Wright,
In 1991 crowds lined the streets when Diana, Princess of Wales, visited the society’s former Industrial Centre at Clifton Road, Marton.
* N-Vision is a local independent charity providing services and support to anyone with reduced vision living in the Blackpool Fylde and Wyrea area regardless of age or means. The charity was first formed in 1910 and continues to provide services almost 110 years later.
- The Princess Alexandra Residential Care Home – Providing dedicated care and support for visually impaired people
- Low Vision Centre – Offering support and information to anyone with reduced vision, their families, friends and carers, digital coaching and assistive technology
- Talking Newspaper Service –a high quality weekly ‘news’ package for visually impaired people across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre available via digital audio plug and download. The service, manned mostly by volunteers, is more than 40 years old
- Transcription Service – A professional and cost-effective digital transcription service
- Conference facilities – Two meeting rooms, both on one level, available to hire
- Eye Clinic Liaison Officer – based at both the Low Vision Centre and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust to liaise with staff on both sites and support patients
- Charity Shops – At Highfield Road, Blackpool, and Victoria Road West, Cleveleys, selling good quality clothing, furniture and bric-a-brac
- Visual awareness training – delivered by specialist trainers on site to those who work with or assist people living with sight loss
- Café Clubs – a network of café clubs at five key town centre locations which act as satellite centres for the service as well as social hubs for clients
- Social and activity groups – held at Sharples Hall or on site at other locations visited
- Care Givers at Home – part of the trading arm of N-Vision providing high quality specialist home support that encourages independence and wellbeing. All profits are channelled back into the organisation to help maintain sustainability