We have been very pleased by the number of members who have come forward to share their memories with us. These memories have not only focused on the experience of being blind and partially sighted or becoming blind and partially sighted, but also only the early lives of members. It has been fascinating to hear of life growing up in the villages and towns of England in the 1920s and 1930s.
Some of these memories come from people who were born locally or moved here when they were young. We also interviewed people who had lived with and cared for people who had suffered sight loss, including periods of frailty and old age. We have recorded the difficulties that people have had to contend with as their sighted has failed; but we have also heard about the great difference that WSftB has made to the lives of its members. It is very good that this testimony has been recorded as it will help the Society promote itself in a positive light and quite possibly recruit new members.
These interviews trace the following stories:
Julia Wilson gives a frank and insightful interview of her experience growing up with severe sight loss – in particular – her experience of schooling and the education system, from the 1970s to 1990s.
Former West Sussex County Councillor, Graham Forshaw recalls his time as a member of the Social Services Committee in the 1970s and 80s and his involvement with the blind community in Worthing and Lancing.
The Lambeth Family
Joan Jackson and Sheila Lambeth recall the Lambeth family in the 1950s and 60s. The family originally came from Selsey and the father was a shepherd. There were thirteen children, five of whom were blind by the age of twenty. Sheila later married Jack, one of the boys in the family.
Worthing Society for the Blind
Margaret Ford and Sheila Lambeth recall working for Worthing Society for the Blind in the 1950s and 60s and the work they did at Milton House.
Family Blind Experience
Pat talks about the ‘tough love’ that her father – blind since birth – suffered at the hands of his father. Patsy remembers her career as a social worker working with blind people. Barbara recalls her grandfather, who was blinded while fighting Republican forces in Ireland.
Schooldays and Reunion
Joyce remembers losing her mother at an early age. Dorothy recalls her schooldays in Ferring, including milk being thawed out on winter mornings. June didn’t enjoy school and spent most of her time playing in the woods.
Wartime and early memories
Our interviewees remember the war years and other events of their childhood. Eileen remembers the first ‘wireless’ radio; while Edith remembers seeing her uncle for the last time before he died fighting in the Second World War.
West Sussex Association for the Blind
Sheila, Margaret and Joan recall their days offering support for blind and partially sighted people in West Sussex. Memories include making precarious trips to rural homes and the attitudes that prevailed in the 1950s and 60s towards blindness.