Letter writer Bob gets his sight restored - and vows to continue to support his favourite newspaper
REGULAR letter writer Bob Blackman often causes a stir with his opinions when they are printed on the pages of The News.
Those who frequently engage with Bob will be interested to hear that his letter writing may be about to get more prolific after a recent eye operation has restored his sight.
Bob, from Fareham, who celebrates his 80th birthday today, said: ‘I have always like The News. It is about community news, and because I am part of that community it has more meaning than any other paper.
‘I like writing letters, I say what lots of people are thinking. It would be a big loss if The News was not there, it gets read by so many people. It gives a great sense of belonging.’
Bob had been suffering with cloudy, disturbed vision caused by cataract. And faced with long waiting lists for the surgery on the NHS due to the pandemic, Bob decided to turn to Optegra Eye Hospital in Whiteley.
Bob said: ‘I was getting frustrated waiting. My sight was getting so bad that I decided to go to Optegra.
‘It was affecting every aspect of my life including my work. I was finding it very hard to work on the computer and to Zoom, as I could not see things.
‘If I have a big computer screen, I still could not see the keyboard well enough. And out and about I would walk by people and could not recognize them.’
Bob’s other eye was treated 25 years ago for cataract.
Bob, who was was in the Royal Marines for nine years, before working in management consultancy, is enjoying having his eyesight back - and is putting it to good use.
He said: ‘Even the very next day my eyesight was brilliant, like being re-born. I feel so much better with my eyes done, it is a dream come true.’
Bob’s wife Myra died last September and he misses her greatly, but he is keeping himself busy.
He enjoys walking, cycling, going to masonic meetings, being secretary of a local doctor patient group, attending the combined CCG mental health forum and is a governor for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.
As well as writing letters to his favourite newspaper, he is also writing a book called Missing Voices about the stories of mental health patients, and has made himself useful doing the shopping for a number of friends and neighbours throughout lockdown.