The Norfolk & Norwich Association for The Blind
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It was a real life Skyfall that left 19 thrill seekers overjoyed at going over the top.
They held their nerve to bungee jump 220 meters from the top of a Swiss dam to raise more than £20,000 for theNorfolkand Norwich Association for the Blind.
Last night they were back inNorfolkafter their once-in-a-lifetime weekend plunge of pride – savouring the memories of conquering their fears and freefalling at speeds of 75mph from a structure more than twice the height of Norwich Cathedral’s spire.
They had all answered the challenge from formerNorwichCitystar Jeremy Goss to take part in Gossy’s Leap of Faith – a madcap, nerve-jangling jaunt to raise cash to help the charity continue its work amongNorfolk’s 20,000 blind and visually impaired children and adults.
Mr Goss, who is now the NNAB’s events fundraiser, said: “I’m so immensely proud of them all. I defy anyone to say it’s a walk in the park when you are standing there, looking down and summoning up the courage to step off the platform into thin air, but they were fantastic.
“I’m sure we all had the odd moment of self doubt when the moment came, but the belief was there and there was no going back.”
The jumpers – whose ages ranged from 20 to 62 – left Norwich on Friday and spent the night in Milan before taking the leap from the Verzasca Dam, near Locarno. It is the second tallest man made structure in the world and featured at the start of the Bond film GoldenEye.
Mr Goss added: “Forget football, this is one of my greatest achievements ever. My heartfelt thanks go to all the jumpers, who showed outstanding bravery. They are the real heroes.”
Norfolk’s leading charity for people with sight problems is appealing for volunteers with a knowledge of photography to help at its popular camera club.
The Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind’s EffStopEyes offers visually impaired people a platform to enjoy photography as a hobby, but with an increasing membership, needs extra help to give hands on advice and support.
The charity’s leisure services co-ordinator, Mark Smith, said: “The club is proving increasingly popular, so we need someone with a couple of hours to spare every fortnight or so to help out.
“EffStopEyes is tangible proof that on-going sight loss is no barrier to artistic creativity, and it’s giving enormous pleasure and fulfilment to people to realise their potential.”
Earlier this year, members of the group staged a week-long exhibition at the Forum in Norwich to showcase their work.
- Anyone who can help should contact Mark Smith or Simon Marshall on 01603 629558, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A £250,000 refurbishment at Norfolk’s only specialist residential home for elderly people with poor sight has been opened by the Bishop of Norwich.
Thomas Tawell House, run by the Norfolkand Norwich Association for the Blind, offers 37 en suite rooms specially adapted for blind and visually impaired people, at its Magpie Road,Norwich complex.
The new facilities were unveiled by the NNAB’s president, the Rt Rev Graham James, who praised the charity for being “a light in the lives of so many Norfolk people with poor sight.”
He added: “It’s like joining a family – that’s the great spirit of the organisation. One of the joys of my 13 years in Norfolkhas been to see the NNAB continue to grow and serve.”
The refurbishment has seen the creation of a light-filled sitting room where residents can “watch the world go by”, a new entrance and reception area and new access to the home’s award-winning gardens.
The work was funded completely by donations and grants from Norfolk-based charitable trusts such as the John Jarrold Trust, the Geoffrey Watling Charity, the Lady Hind Trust and the Mr and Mrs Philip Rackham Trust.
Representatives of the trusts were joined by the High Sheriff of Norfolk Henry Cator, deputy lieutenant Paddy Seligman, the Lord Mayor of Norwich Ralph Gayton, the Mayor of Great Yarmouth Colleen Walker and the former Archdeacon of Norwich, the Ven Michael Handley.
Thomas Tawell House is named after the Norwich ironmonger who founded the charity in 1805 and which opened its doors a week before the Battle of Trafalgar.
It boasts tactile flooring, specialist lighting and other aids to help blind and visually impaired people, and employs only staff highly and specially trained in sensory impairment to provide its round-the-clock support.
It also offers short-break respite care to give hard-pressed carers a break, and insists that every new resident comes initially on a month’s trial to make sure they are happy in their new home.
Head of home, Sharon Gaul said: “We just want to carry on doing what we have done for so many years.”
She added: “We have everything here to enable people to have a fulfilling and dignified experience. We are here to help when people need us – that’s the ethos of the charity and the ethos of Thomas Tawell himself.”