Blackpool-based sight loss support charity N-Vision is on track to smash its £3,000 fundraising target after 50 sponsored runners and walkers turned out to tackle the Three Piers.
The walkers picked their pace and their pier – North, Central or South – in the round trip to the Squires Gate base.
Jim Egan of Fylde Coast Runners – who ran the six miles to and from South Pier – was first back followed by the ‘littlest’ walker of all, Arabella Rose Newby.
Arabella, four, got as far as South Pier with dad Adam and big sister Lila, nine. Mum Abby, presented one of the medals to Edwin Whalley, who has organised the event since its start in 2017. Those taking part included staff, trustees, volunteers, clients and others impelled by N-Vision, Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Blind Society’s support of loved ones or their own experience of the impact of sight loss.
Andrew Noble and Maurice Mallone of Fylde Coast YMCA not only gifted their time for a pre-event warm up but they made a donation too.
Charity CEO Ruth Lambert said: “The final figure won’t be known for a few more weeks when everyone has sent their sponsorship money in – but we’d like to thank everyone involved.
“It’s not the biggest race, or the fastest race – but it’s for a local independent charity with a really big heart.”
Half of the money will go towards further developing a summer house/activity hub on site, the rest to the Talking Newspaper or other elements of the charity’s work specified by those taking part.
Mary Cawley raced in memory of her gran Kathleen Morris – for whom the Talking Newspaper, which features local news from the Gazette and associated weeklies, proved a quality of life-line.
“I felt grandma was with me throughout,” said Mary. “I just wish she’d had a word and sorted the weather out for us, though!”
N-Vision currently has 249 registered volunteers working across all elements of the operation, from Talking News to café clubs, charity shops to admin and finance.
Last year the volunteers worked a total of 15,755 hours – for free. At national minimum wage of £8.21 per hour, that would equate to a wage bill of £129,348.
In the last financial year N-Vision’s charity shops, at Highfield Road, South Shore, and Victoria Road West, Cleveleys, managers backed by volunteers, took £124,500 through the tills.
A spokesperson for N-Vision said: “Across Lancashire, 41,000 people live with sight loss severe enough to significantly affect their lives, and that of their loved ones, the overlooked statistic.
That figure is set to rise by 25 per cent by 2030 – that’s 10,250 more. Half of it (5,125) is avoidable, controllable and preventable.”
By Louisa Gregson