National award for blind volunteer

Leonard Sharpe
Leonard Sharpe

A blind volunteer from Frithville has won a national award for his dedication in helping others with sight loss.

Leonard Sharpe, 84, has received the ‘chairman’s award for volunteering’ as part of the Macular Society’s Awards for Excellence.

“When I first heard I’d won, it was shock and disbelief,” said Mr Sharpe. “I feel honoured to have been selected, when there are so many volunteers doing similar work for the society.”

Mr Sharpe set up the Boston support group, helps to run the Lincoln group and is helping to start a new group in Spalding. He is also a ‘telephone befriender’, giving friendship and support to people unable to attend a group.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the central vision and is the most common cause of sight loss in the UK. There are rarer forms of macular disease which affect younger people. The support groups provide information, encouragement and friendship to those affected by the condition.

Mr Sharpe said: “I like volunteering for the Macular Society. I get to meet so many wonderful people, from all walks of life, with the hope I can help in some small way.”

Martyn Long who nominated Mr Sharpe for the award said: “Although registered blind, he uses all the new technology aids for vision and helps others to understand the aids. I cannot speak highly enough of Leonard’s work for us all.”

Mr Sharpe will be presented with his award at the society’s annual London conference on September 27.

Tony Rucinski, chief executive of the Macular Society, said: “Leonard is a real inspiration and has done so well to win this award. We are incredibly grateful to him for the fantastic work carried out in Lincolnshire.

“It’s always heartening to hear how people have made such a difference to the lives of others. There are some really inspiring people working within the sector and volunteering within the local community for people with visual impairments. I’m proud we can honour them in this way.”

The Macular Society’s group in Boston meets at the Zion Methodist Church, Brothertoft Road, Boston, PE21 8HD on the third Monday of every month between 1.30- 3.30pm.

For details contact the Macular Society’s helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email help@macularsociety.org