Dr Janet Gray MBE presenting me with a copy of her book ‘Blind Ambition’
I enjoyed a tremendously inspirational speech from the four time World disabled water skiing champion yesterday evening. Despite being blind from the age of 21 Janet overcame her disability to become the best in the World. After suffering horrific and life threatening injuries during training Janet spent three years in treatment and rehabilitation to resume competition and once more become a Champion.
Janet was the guest speaker at an event organised by Bury Society for Blind and Partially Sighted People to thank their volunteers and mark their 95th anniversary. After her retirement from competitive sport Janet has been elected to her local City Council in her native Northern Ireland.
After attending some meetings in my office yesterday morning and dealing with some surgery matters I spent some time in the Millgate doing a bit of shopping. Despite spending half the year in London I never dream of doing my shopping down there I much prefer to shop locally. In Tottington or Ramsbottom where I can and if not then Bury. When the new Rock Triangle was being built I received many complaints that it would spell the end for the Millgate but I have to say considering all the problems facing the high street such as from internet shopping the Millgate seems to be thriving. Hardly any empty shops. Some new ones have opened since I was last in for a good look round and most importantly it seemed pretty busy to me.
Yesterday evening I attended a sell out dinner to raise money for Bury Society for Blind and Partially Sighted People at The Red Hall Hotel. The Mayor and his consort, the Leader of the Council and lots of other generous supporters attended and helped raise over £3,600 to help those without sight or with sight problems in our town.
David helping out the Bury Society for Blind and Partially Sighted People with their Christmas wrapping service
I helped out today for the ninth and final time this year on the stand in the Millgate Centre run by the Bury Society for Blind and Partially Sighted People where they wrap presents for shoppers in return for a donation towards Society funds.
The target this year was a whopping £4,000 and I must admit I thought it might be difficult to achieve but I can report that the target has been reached which is a magnificent achievement.
I know that the Christmas season is well and truly underway when I start my Christmas present wrapping sessions at the Millgate Shopping Centre in Bury. This is the fourth year that the Bury Society for Blind and Partially Sighted People have run their luxury wrapping service. The idea is that shoppers bring their presents to a stall manned by volunteers who wrap their presents in return for a donation to the Charity’s funds. The suggested donation is £1.00 per present but many people give more and no-one minds if it is less for a small present say from a child or pensioner.
Well today I did the first of my scheduled nine sessions and all went well I soon got back into the swing of it. The target this year is a very ambitious £4,000 which is an awful lot of presents to wrap!
Yesterday, after a day full of planning meetings and dealing with my numerous e-mails Sue and I and an evening off and attended a performance of The Hound of the Baskervilles which is on all this week at Bolton Little Theatre. It was extremely enjoyable and entertaining with skilful acting and superb effects.
The big political event of the day has been the Government’s pre-budget report. A relatively new idea which seems to be more about Government spin than budget planning. Rather than the traditional one budget a year we now seem to be having two. Unfortunately for the labour Government the state of the nation’s finances are so dire that the budget contained nothing but bad news for hardworking families in Bury. National Insurance Contributions which are simply income tax by another name are to rise yet again and so many people will see their take home pay reduced.
Yesterday was one of those days when I was reminded how lucky those of us are who are not affected by a disability.
At the lunchtime meeting of Bury Rotary Club we had a three speakers from the Speakeasy charity based in Ramsbottom. The charity helps those who struggle with language following a stroke. The fact that two of the three speakers were themselves recovering from strokes was particularly revealing. The charity carries out excellent work and I hope the small donation that Rotary was able to make will make their task a little easier.
In the evening I attended a social evening organised by the Bury Society for Blind and Partially Sighted People at the Man Yuen Chinese restaurant in Tottington. Whenever I meet with those who are blind or who suffer from severe visual impairment I am always impressed by how positive and optimistic their outlook is. I have to declare an interest in that my wife is a Director ( entirely voluntary I should stress) of the Society and spends alot of time trying to raise funds for it and helping in all manner of ways with the administration of the Society.
All wrapped up for Christmas
For the second year I have been helping the Bury Society for Blind and Partially Sighted People raise funds by volunteering for several sessions as a gift wrapper at their wrapping service in the Millgate Centre. The target is to raise over £3,000 and at the last count I believe they were over £2,500. Thank-you to all those who have brought presents to be wrapped and made a donation, I hope you were happy with the service.