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Galloway's 'is a lifeline' for people with sight loss during lockdown

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Facial shot pf James Wyatt. He is wearing glasses and a blue T-shirt
James Wyatt

Without sight loss charity Galloway’s, James Wyatt says he would ‘be in a bad position.’

The 82-year-old has age related macular degeneration, but the past few weeks have been particularly tough and he has relied on the charity now more than ever. Not only has he had to change his routine because of the Coronavirus crisis, but he is worried about his daughter, Samantha, who has cancer.

He lives alone in a flat managed by Places for People in Morecambe. As Samantha resides in another part of the complex, he is able to see her, following social distancing rules. He says: “I have been feeling down. My daughter has ovarian cancer. She is 52, which is no age at all. There is only my daughter here for me, as my wife Margaret, died 14 years ago. It is a really worrying time, but she is a fighter.

“I am trying to forget about it and Galloway’s helps. Without Galloway’s, I would be in a bad position. It is a lifeline for me and for others. “It is more than a place to go and meet people with similar conditions. It is about the support you get: not just when you are there, but more importantly, when you are not there.

“We cannot go to the Galloway’s social groups right now, but they have set up Talking Together, which is a group phone chat, where there are quizzes and talks. There is also a book club. This is brilliant as it keeps us all in touch with each other. It has helped me greatly. It is a great lift and something to look forward to.

“I also get regular phone calls from the sight loss advisors and a volunteer rings me twice a week. It is nice to talk to someone outside of my building as they have a different outlook.

Image shows the printed What's Going On Guide
The What's Going On Guide

“I also receive regular What’s Going On Guides from Galloway’s. One day, I was feeling really down and the guide came through my door. It had a poem from William Wordsworth. I never expected that and it uplifted me as I travelled back in time to my school days. It was such a lovely feeling.

“I am so grateful to Galloway’s. I would never have thought I would end up like this, but it makes it easier with such great support. Galloway’s is here to help and I am sure everyone else is really grateful too. We may not be able to get out of the house as much now but the team is going out of its way to help us.”

James began visiting the Brew Me Sunshine cafe in Morecambe two years ago after he was diagnosed with age related macular degeneration.

He adds: “A few years ago, doctors found a big hole at the back of my eye and I had to go to a hospital in Manchester for an operation. The degeneration came over a short period two years ago. I was able to read and write but then after a year, I could not see to do these things. I was in despair and someone told me about Galloway’s. I was given an assessment and told to go to Westmorland General for regular injections, which gradually reduced. I won’t be needing them any more now. There is nothing that can be done about my right eye and my left eye is not the best.”

James, who worked at Heysham Nuclear Power Station until he developed Legionnaires’ disease in 1985, adds he cannot thank Galloway’s enough for its support.

He says: “I am proud to be part of Galloway’s and I cannot speak highly enough of them. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for the support they give. They go above and beyond. It is more than just a job for them. They give us great support and now it is our time to support them, as like all charities, they will be struggling with fundraising during this time.” We are urgently trying to adapt our services to ensure support is still available to people living with sight loss across Lancashire and Sefton during lockdown. But because of the detrimental effect this pandemic is having on fundraising, we need your help more than ever to ensure we can continue our good work and help people like James.

To read how lockdown is affecting other Galloway's members with sight loss click here:


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