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Bowls Club Set up by Blind Man

Bowls Club Set up by Blind Man

A Llanelli man who went blind overnight has set up a bowls club for those with sight loss, after he was hit by depression and isolation.

original Story on BBC.com

Stephen Ricketts woke up having lost his sight the morning after he had left work with a headache. “There are no words to describe it – it’s just, the world had gone dark,” he said.

Charity RNIB Cymru has said more needs to be done to tackle the loneliness suffered by blind people.

Mr Ricketts, aged 50 when he lost his sight, said it led him to become depressed as well as isolated from his friends because he felt uncomfortable talking about his new disability.”It got quite intense,” he said. “Depression soon set in and I said to my wife, ‘go on, divorce me please and find a complete man’.

“All my dignity, all my pride at being the breadwinner had all gone. I’d lost my job, my licence and I lost a lot of friends.”That hurt me because I thought I had friends to rely on but I found out they were only acquaintances.”

He set up a bowls club for the visually impaired to make friends and help others in his community, using his savings to hire equipment and the use of facilities.

Stephen Ricketts
Image caption Stephen set up a bowls club in his community

“It’s a really nice feeling to walk through the local town and be recognised,” he said.

“They’ve seen how I’ve progressed from a suicidal state into someone who is standing up and talking about what he has achieved.”

Faye Jones, from Holyhead, also lost her sight, aged 62 and said it was “like a bereavement”.

“Because you know it’s something that you’re never going to get back,” she said.

Now however, she has set up groups across North Wales to bring people with sight loss together.

“There’s two or three of them who have never been to a group before,” she said.

“It has been a new beginning for them because they can ring up each other.

“But it’s getting the confidence to walk into here, it’s okay for people to say ‘join groups if you’re lonely’, but it’s very very hard for people to find the confidence to do that.”

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