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Three cheers for the Three Piers - and for a grandma making the Talking News in her own right

The Three Piers annual fundraiser for Lancashire sight loss support charity N-Vision on Sun Sept 22 isn't the fastest or most furious on foot ... but it has one of the biggest hearts. Talk to Mary Cawley, there for her gran, a year since her death.

Three cheers for the Three Piers - and for a grandma making the Talking News in her own right

Event Details:

  • Location: NVision Sharples Hall Bosworth Place Blackpool
  • Postcode: FY4 1SH
  • Contact: Abby Newby
  • Phone: 01253 362692
  • Email: abby@nvision-nw.co.uk
  • Starts: Sun Sep 22 2019 @10:00
  • Finishes: Sun Sep 22 2019 @15:00

"Six miles walking is nothing compared to how people who cannot see feel on a daily basis so please give generously if you can. "
Mary Cawley

Three cheers for Mary Cawley who’s taking part in the Three Piers for the first time – in the hope of helping others receive the ‘talking’ newspaper which offered a window on the world to her late grandmother Kathleen Morris who was severely sight impaired.

Mary will be joining the Three Piers event on Sunday September 22  to mark the first anniversary of her grandmother’s death

The event is the third of its kind, organised for and by N-Vision, the Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind, which supports 2500 people living with little to no vision across the three boroughs of the Fylde, from coast to urban and rural communities inland.

Established in 1910, the charity runs community services, café clubs, digital coaching, events,  social, sports and activity groups, Low Vision Centre, sight loss support, the Talking Newspaper service and more – including the Princess Alexandra Home which offers residential and respite accommodation.

Mary explains: “My grandma Kathleen died on 17th September 2018. She was registered blind and was someone who had support from N Vision for a good few years. The Talking Newspaper is a  service that the blind rely on and can keep them up to date with the local news. I would like to get enough funding for at least three people to receive it for one year. Six miles walking is nothing compared to how people who cannot see feel on a daily basis so please give generously if you can.”

The link to Mary’s JustGiving page is; https://tinyurl.com/y5rputbq

The event  starts at  10am on Sunday September 22 but later arrivals are welcome too. Last year, stragglers returned to base well into the afternoon.

Those taking part pick their own pace – and pier. It’s three, five or six miles respectively from Starr Gate to South Pier (the nearest), Central or North Pier – and back.

Run, walk, cycle, push/be pushed, perambulate,  amble, trundle, stroll, walk the dog - or the children. Or promenade between those Blackpool piers without peer. The choice is yours.

Just don’t  cheat and catch a tram, donkey or one of those fairy tale horse-drawn carriages on the Golden Mile. The charity want an authentically happy ending.

There couldn’t be a better place to start than N-Vision’s own HQ,  at Bosworth Place, Blackpool – because it’s just off the Prom at Starr Gate/Squires Gate.

Charity chief executive Ruth Lambert will wave participants off from the charity’s social hub Sharples Hall after a high-energy Korean pop-driven warm-up by work out guru and indefatigible charity campaigner Andrew Noble. 

They will return to bacon butties, medals and stickers, and general acclaim, as befits a hero’s welcome, regardless of whether they picked off one pier, two or all three, or come first or last or needed a piggyback.

Organiser Abby Newby says: “It’s a lovely family event, and above all it’s fun.  The very first year we raised £2875 so that just inspired us to continue.  Last year it was £2271. We were a little disappointed but the weather let us down a bit, too. 

"Last year 45 people took part– from two years old to their 80s.   Not just running or walking but in wheelchairs and mobility scooters too - and including clients with long canes and guide dogs including some who now volunteer for the charity.

'We’re hoping the third event is bigger and better than ever – and smashes our £3000 target!”

 Last year, the first to take a bow (wow)  back at base was Elmo the pooch, closely followed by his master Michael Lane, who ran six miles from N-Vision to North Pier and back. Biggest ‘aw’ moment came when N-Vision’s youngest walkers, little Leo, then two, and brother George, then four, made it back, in the first five too, having got to and from South Pier, with dad Robert Drinkwater. They were thrilled to receive their N-Vision medals and commemorative stickers from CEO Ruth.

The highlight was the handover of a cheque for £1328 from Martyn Coyne having run the London Marathon to thank the charity for helping his grandfather, a subscriber to the N-Vision’s weekly Talking Newspaper.

The event also coincides with the start of National Eye Health Week (My Vision Matters) with N-Vision one of a coalition of sight loss support charities across Lancashire and South Cumbria joining forces to get various messages out in a bid to curb avoidable sight loss. 

They will be stressing the importance of regular eye tests as a routine – at any age – rather than a reaction to failing sight as so many health issues, and not exclusively eye health issues, can be detected in the test.  Earlier intervention is often key to a favourable outcome.

N-Vision will also be running public awareness raising sessions at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation – with specialist eye clinic liaison officer Linda Sethi able to count on backing from specialist medics with whom she has built a great working relationship. 

Linda is the charity's frontline link for referrals, those newly diagnosed, fast tracked, others certified as severely sight impaired (blind) or partially sighted and asking "what happens next?" or requiring more help,  Linda and the rest of the Low Vision team take over where the medics leave off.  As a result of new eye screening for four and five year olds by resort-based orthoptists  the ECLO is increasingly assisting parents of children too. 

The charity is also highlighting some of the latest breakthroughs in assistive technology at a special exhibition hosted by the Low Vision Centre at Sharples Hall on Friday September 27 from 10am to 2pm. The charity has been at the cutting edge of technological and other advances for those who are visually impaired.