Business Action | June / July 2019

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June / July 2019 issue of the independent North Devon-based business magazine covering news about business and enterprise in Barnstaple, Bideford, Braunton, Chulmleigh, Combe Martin, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe, Lynmouth, Lynton, South Molton, Torrington, Woolacombe and more.

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In his Blind Man Roy blog, Roy Imeson describes living with Retina Pigmentosa and his year of fund raising with his children: (from left) Ollie, Laura and Roy Imeson

Blind Man Roy set to scale three peaks

Eye tests are a routine for

many of us, but for Roy

Imeson of Ilfracombe they

brought to light deterioration

in his peripheral vision, leading

to a diagnosis of Retina

Pigmentosa (RP), which the

RNIB defines as “a group of

inherited eye conditions that

affect the retina at the back of

the eye” causing permanent

changes to vision.

The diagnosis came as a

shock to Roy, who is a father,

Exmoor Explorers Scout

leader and strategic partnership

adviser covering the

Heart of the South West for

the Construction Industry

Training Board (CITB).

“I was lost for reasons

and worried about going

forward and supporting my

family,” says Roy. “I made a

call to the RNIB helpline and

was overwhelmed by all the

support that followed. The

help included a home visit

from a couple of supportive

people. After time, I received

white cane training, support

with finding further support

such as a ‘Blue Badge’ and

discounted bus journeys.”

With support from his

employer and the government’s

Access to Work scheme,

Roy continues to work across

Devon and in London. Instead

of driving himself, Roy is

provided with a chauffeur

through Access to Work, CITB

and Ilfracombe and District

Community Transport.

“I couldn’t have asked for

a better employer,” adds Roy.

“They give me scope to be who

I am and have provided me

with high-tech tools.”

These include a microphone

designed to pick up

Roy’s voice and cancel out

background noise as well as

dictation tools.

With this support, Roy is

working with as many small

rural construction companies

as possible to attract, train and

retain new talent.

“I’m still talking to people

and giving presentations,

although I don’t see the audience

and am learning new

skills to get feedback.”

Remarkably, Roy is one of

only two people registered

blind in the UK construction

industry and is working

to improve access: “It has to

increase. People need to be

aware that deaf and blind

people still need to work.”

Roy is also working to

increase awareness of RP and

raise funds for the RNIB,

which is funded solely by donations.

In 2019, he and daughter

Laura and son Ollie are taking

part in a year of fund raising,

which includes an expedition

in July to scale the three

highest peaks in the United

Support Roy’s Go Fund Me campaign at

gf.me/u/sxhxwz

Kingdom – Ben Nevis, Scafell

Pike and Snowdonia – plus

walks along the Once Brewed

section of Hadrian’s Wall and

the English National Three

Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales.

Roy is very grateful to Ilfracombe

and District Lions Club

for offering to pay for fuel

for the trip and he welcomes

any further sponsorship or

support for the expedition.

He explains: “I also wish

to promote mental wellbeing

via my challenges and attitude

towards life, and support

other families with this rare

genetic problem. There are

some tough decisions and

it can feel very frustrating

and lonely. Please feel free to

contact me to ask questions or

offer support.”

While RP has a major

impact on his life, he is able

to discuss it with humour and

discusses how he manages the

challenges in his Blind Man

Roy blog.

■■Details blindmanroy.com

Call 01271 326694.

info@boomboomedia.co.uk

visit www.boomboommedia.co.uk

@businessactionm | June / July 2019 | business action 21

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