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Spots and Stripes in Gravesend holds championship to raise funds for Talking Books

By Messenger Reporter

Pool players wore goggles during a tournament last week to give them a taste of what life is like when you are visually impaired.

A championship was held at Spots and Stripes pool club, New Road, Gravesend, and raised awareness and money for Talking Books, which funds audio books for the blind and partially sighted.

More than a dozen people, with and without sight problems, took part. Players said the goggles gave them a weird sensation, and a new experience.

Beckie McMullen, with glasses to simulate tunnel vision
Beckie McMullen, with glasses to simulate tunnel vision

The event was arranged by Royal National Institute for the Blind representative Gary Martin, who suffers from cataracts and glaucoma.

He said: “The people who came along were shocked at how difficult it was to do little things; they even struggled to pick up the chalk for their cue.

“It showed people how much they take their vision for granted – but also how people with impaired vision can still do things.”

Gary Martin takes aim
Gary Martin takes aim

Andy Mounger was crowned champion, winning a trophy and bottles of wine. Afterwards there was live music and a raffle with 26 prizes – including a David Bowie music collection donated by Elephant Music in Gravesend – £50 meal vouchers and more.

Mr Martin thanked Spots and Stripes who let him use the venue for free; James Beach, who designed posters for the event; Elephant Music for their live performance and everyone who took part.

The tournament raised £635 towards Mr Martin’s £2,500 target which he hopes to reach by the end of the year. “Blind people should have access to books they love,” he said.

You can donate at justgiving.com/fundraising/gravesendtalkingbook, and email Martin at blindgaz81@gmail.com.

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