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Photo of Jackie at SRSB Jackie found friendship, a talent for sport and a new zest for life when she came to one of the ‘Look Ahead Information Workshops’ at SRSB in Sheffield and all of them were quite a surprise to her.

“I was referred here from the hospital and didn’t know what to expect. I met Rob, their Equipment Advisor and discovered there are lots of things you can get to help you”.  

But the event that transformed Jackie’s life was the Look Ahead session as she says “That’s where it all started.” 

She sat opposite two ladies, both called Jean “We introduced ourselves and I hit it off with both of them and we are now great friends.” The trio have become well known in the SRSB Centre regularly coming to the Coffee Morning, Craft Group and playing the sport of Curling.

When we chat, Jackie has just done a craft session. ‘We had a demonstration today from a lady called Katie who is completely blind and very talented. She showed us a way of painting on canvas where the paint is spread across. There will be four of us in each team making them. When they are finished, they will be used to decorate Rotherham Sight and Sound, which is currently being renovated.” 

After playing Indoor Curling at the Centre Jackie goes each week to play snooker at The Stephen Harrison Academy Attercliffe. She had never played before, but it turned out she was very good and has won a medal. 

Aside from those regular activities Jackie needs her diary to remind her of all the other SRSB and RSS events she has taken part in recently. They include a visit to the National Arboretum, an exhibition at Sight Village in Birmingham, a trip to Bridlington, another to Bury market and going to see Miss Saigon at Sheffield Theatres.

“This place is amazing, just amazing, I recommend anyone to come here. My granddaughter says I have a better social life than she does,” said Jackie. “The friendships I have made here are very important.”

Jackie also attends the Charles Bonnet Syndrome Support Group and was recently interviewed on BBC Radio Sheffield by Toby Foster to help raise awareness about this condition. “When you are in the Support Group people talk to you about it and then you don’t feel so alone.”  She says, referring to the condition that can be a result of sight loss. 

Jackie also finds time to take part in collection days for SRSB and RSS, volunteering at Atkinson’s Department store in the city centre. 

But her biggest sporting challenge is still to come. Her son Matthew is about to go on a Zip Line to raise funds for SRSB and RSS.  Jackie isn’t certain that at 76 she will pass the health checks, but she says “If I can, I am going to do it with him. I didn’t do any of these sports and activities before. Joining SRSB/RSS has been life-changing.”

(UPDATE) Jackie is doing the Zip Line!!

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Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind links