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Dorset blind paddlers are oarsome
VISUALLY impaired rowers made a splash on a special day out with the Dorset Blind Association.
They were able to try kayaking for the first time with instructors from Spinnaker Sailing Club.
The party was briefed on safety issues and escorted at all times as they learned how to control their kayaks and cross the water.
Tiffany Deacon, Dorset Blind Association’s eye clinic support officer at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital’s eye unit, attends most of the social events, which take place every few weeks.
She said: “As a group we have played blind cricket and tennis recently, we even had a go at acoustic shooting with some instructors from the Royal Marines and next month we are going to try water skiing.”
The party took part in the activity at Blashford Lakes, near Ringwood.
Judy Bannon, Dorset Blind Association’s Bournemouth community support worker, said: “You get a real sense of freedom doing something like this that’s so different from our members’ everyday lives.”
“It improves fitness and gives members a sense of independence that proves their visual impairment doesn’t have to be a barrier.”
Senior instructor Stephen Taylor, who has run events at the club for New Forest Sailability, enabling people with disabilities to enjoy the benefits of sailing, added: “These programmes are highly beneficial and very encouraging.”
Dorset Blind Association helps up to 1,000 blind or partially sighted people each month, but receives no regular government funding. To help out call 01202 712869 or visit dorsetblind.org.uk
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