ITS NOW BOATS, PLANES AND STEAM TRAINS!
Blind Man to Take Controls of Steam Locomotive!
A blind man who has driven a passenger hovercraft and a catamaran, and piloted a glider, a plane and a lifeboat, will now drive a steam locomotive over a five-mile track.
Colin McArthur, 59, from Sandown, Isle of Wight, will be taking the controls of a steam locomotive at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Havenstreet on Wednesday 11th August.
Colin said, “These challenges have been a great way to raise funds and awareness for ‘RP Fighting Blindness’, and I have enjoyed each one. I am grateful to the IW Steam Railway for allowing me to take part in this challenge and I hope that the steam locomotive will look the same when I have finished!”
Colin, who is a trustee of the charity, went blind through retinitis pigmentosa some twenty years ago.
On the day all are welcome and the usual ticket prices for train travel will be in place. However, thanks to the generosity of the IW Steam Railway, the usual £3 entrance fee has been waived, to enable visitors to donate to the Eye Love Sight Appeal of ‘RP Fighting Blindness’, which is using the beauty of the Isle of Wight to ram home to the public that by donating to this cause, (www.justgiving.com/eyelovesight), those who are blind or partially sighted due to retinitis pigmentosa will one day be able to share and appreciate the views around the Island and beyond. A project at Southampton Hospital will benefit from cash raised through this appeal, to look at using adult stem cells from the iris to re-grow photoreceptor cells which have been wiped out by defective genes.
Commenting on the challenge, Steam Railway General Manager Peter Vail said, “It’s a real pleasure to be able to support Colin and the ‘RP Fighting Blindness’ charity in this unusual way. We hope lots of people will come along to show their support and to donate to this very worthwhile cause … And we will wait anxiously to the safe return of our historic locomotive!!”
During the day, other blind and partially sighted people with RP will be taking over some of the jobs at the railway, such as signalling, guarding, and ticket collection. They will be joined by Louisa Lytton (subject to work commitments), who appeared in Eastenders, the Bill and Strictly Come Dancing, and has RP in the family.