A partially sighted man who will be trekking to Machu Picchu to support Galloway’s is holding a charity evening to boost his sponsorship funds.
James Coulton, who is outdoor activities and audio services coordinator at the sight loss charity, will be holding a fund-raising evening at Deepdale Labour Club, Skeffington Road, Preston, on Saturday, February 29. All funds will go towards his target of £3,850 needed for the five-day trek.
There will a singer, a raffle and an auction, with prizes including a two nights’ stay at a hotel in Windermere, a day of outdoor activities for six people at Water Park Lakeland Adventure Centre and a PNE family ticket.
The fun starts at 7.30pm.
James, from Farington Moss, had reasonably good eyesight until the age of 17-18 when he had a cataracts operation.
Then in 2000, one of his retinas - the thin layer at the back of your eye - became loose. He underwent three surgeries in an attempt to reattach it, which were unsuccessful, leaving one eye shrunken, opaque and unable to detect light. That same year, he also developed glaucoma in the other eye and cells in his cornea began falling apart.
The 51-year-old admits his sight loss hit him hard, but after visiting Galloway’s, he realised he could still do the things he had previously enjoyed doing.
He said: “I first started to lose my sight in November 2002. I went from being able to drive to being registered as partially sighted and it was quite devastating. Everything I had known had come to an end.
“I just wanted to sit in my room and listen to the TV.
“I had always been quite active and I loved the outdoors, so I thought I would not be able to do anything else.
“I first went to Galloway’s in January 2003 and I looked at their outdoor activities. I did canoeing and kayaking. That October, I went away on their residential week to the Lakes.
“I was doing all sorts of things but I was still not confident. But one day we visited a climbing wall and there was one guy who was blind from birth. Something triggered with me that if he can climb the wall and I could give it a go. From that moment, I realised there was still things I could do.
“I came back a different person and I did more things with Galloway’s. I started building my confidence up and I got my life back together.
“I started volunteering and I got into full time employment, running the recording studio for Talking Newspaper. Then three years ago I took on the role of outdoor activities co-ordinator.
“Galloway’s means a massive amount to me. It has helped to rebuild my life and given me confidence and independence.”
The grandfather-of-two is now looking forward to taking part in Galloway’s first overseas trek in Peru.
He added: “One of the things I wanted to do was to trek through Peru. It is going to be challenging for me and I will be raising money along the way to help Galloway’s carry on the fantastic work it does.
“I have seen on a daily basis how much people have come along on their sight loss journey.
“Without Galloway’s, I have no idea what I would be doing. I would not have the confidence I have now. If I can help out and give independence to other people, I think it is a useful thing to be able to do. I love the job I do because I see how much of a difference we do make to people with sight loss.”
To support James and make a donation, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=JamesCoulton_TrekPeru2020&pageUrl=2
There are still places left for the Peru trek, which takes place between October 9 to 18. Registration is £299 and people must raise a minimum of £3,850.
To read how other trekkers are fundraising for the Peru trek, visit https://www.galloways.org.uk/post/well-done-to-young-volunteer-of-the-year-will-bamford