Hundreds of Santa’s Run to Raise Money for the Blind

On 3rd December 2017, hundreds of Santa’s ran 5k around Wolverhampton’s West Park in order to raise money to help people living with sight loss.

Organised by Beacon Centre for the Blind, an organisation set up to help those newly diagnosed and those living with sight loss in and around the Black Country and Wolverhampton, another objective of the run was to raise awareness for the problem of sight loss and encourage people to go and get their eyes tested.

Chief executive of Beacon Centre for the Blind, Arwyn Jones, stated, “We probably hoping to have had about 150 people doing Santa run today tapping into the local authorities, the NHS, the local park runs and the public generally.”

“The event is really just a bit of fun! Just a bit of fun right at the start of December just to get people into the Christmas spirit so nothing more than that really.”

“The money raised will be split between ourselves and Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), and it’s really just a put in to supporting people – particularly people who are being newly diagnosed with sight loss, to give them the advice they need to feel supported through what is going to be a very difficult time for them.”

The event started at 10:30am, where runners congregated at the band stand to sign up, get their Santa suit and prepared for the run ahead. Younger runners between the ages of 5 and 12 were given Santa hats to wear during the run instead. Entry was £10 for adults and children over 12, £5 for children between the ages of 5 and 12, and those under 5 could join in for free.

Councillor Phil Page, the Deputy Mayor of Wolverhampton, was in attendance at the event. “I am here today to support the organisation and I am deputising for the mayor,” he explained. “We think it is really important to support the community’s efforts and it’s about raising the profile and raising as much money as we can.”

In the United Kingdom, there are over 2 million people living with sight loss. On a more local scale, there are around 100 thousand people living with this across the West Midlands alone, and about 10 thousand living with sight loss in Wolverhampton. These numbers are constantly growing as time goes on, which is why charities such as Beacon Centre for the Blind and RNIB are so important.

In a final statement, Arwyn Jones reiterated the messages that the charity was trying to convey during the event. “What we are trying to highlight today is the importance of looking after your eyes – we only get one set and so please go and have your eyes tested regularly. Also, as a charity, Beacon is there to support people in all sorts of ways – not to smother them, but to actually help them live with confidence.”

If you want to know more about sight loss or either of the charities, more information can be found on their websites for Beacon Centre for the Blind (https://www.beaconvision.org/) or Royal National Institute for the Blind (http://www.rnib.org.uk/).

– Megan Rhodes

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