SHE was diagnosed as blind aged 25, but it took Jenny Robinson a further 20 years to accept her condition and become registered as blind.
Now the 64-year-old has told her story as part of a book for the Hampshire charity for the visually impaired, Open Sight.
Vision of the Past, which has been funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). focuses on people who have lived with sight loss and those who have helped support them.
The project shows how attitudes towards disability have changed over time, how technology has been both a boon and created challenges, and how determined many people have been to remain active members of society despite their sight loss.
Jenny, of Nashe Way in Fareham, said: ‘I realised from an early age that my brain had taught my eye to swing off to the periphery.
‘Nothing was ever picked up and the day I was diagnosed I wasn’t seeing anything different to what I had all my life. I couldn’t believe it when they told me I could be registered as blind, I was quite offended. Nobody told me what the advantages could be.’
The retired teacher has no central vision and has macular degeneration in her right eye.
But last year she was named a Citizen of Honour by Fareham Borough Council for her work with the RNLI, Open Sight and other organisations.
She added: ‘My visual impairment naturally affects my day-to-day life but it’s also made me pretty stoic. If things go wrong I just find a way round them one way or another.’
Tessa Barrett, chief executive at Open Sight, said: ‘Vision of The Past offers a unique insight into the reality of living with sight loss recounted by ordinary people who have been supported by the charity.
‘We hope the book, audio book, film and website will prove invaluable not only as a social history of changing attitudes to sight loss but also as an educational tool that will be of benefit to people young and old across Hampshire.’
Vision of The Past is on sale at £10 paperback, £15 hardback and £5 on CD or memory stick and is available to buy direct from Open Sight on (023) 8064 1244. For more information go to vision-of-the-past-opensight.org.uk.