A BLIND man is hoping to top an "absolutely life changing" 2018 by sharing his success with even more people.

Following an £85,000 fundraising campaign, Nigel Garry of the North Wales Accessible Holidays for Blind and Visually Impaired charity welcomed the first beneficiaries to a fully accessible and adapted static caravan at Prestatyn’s Lido Beach Caravan Park in May.

Starting the charity with just £350, Mr Garry, wife Karen and a team of volunteers raised the bulk of the money through store collections, raffles and fundraisers at pubs and clubs throughout the North West and are now looking for volunteers to help raise £45,000 for a second unit aimed at younger people .

Mr Garry, 60 originally of Penistone, said: "We finished last year on such a high, it's been absolutely life changing.

"So many people told us that what were trying to do wasn’t achievable, but by hook and by crook we’ve made it happen.


Mr Garry - who lives in Old Colwyn and lost his sight at 19 - was spurred on by the need for a purpose built facility after the closure of North Wales only similar unit at the Belmont Hotel in Llandudno in 2016.

The site was selected for its accessibility to visually impaired people from across the North Wales coast, it's flat and safe setting as well as ease of access to Prestatyn train station and the town’s beaches.

The caravan itself has been modified to address the needs of the visually impaired, including sympathetic and additional lighting and a talking microwave as well as other equipment and structural changes to safety and comfort.

Since May, the charity has hosted 19 families - including seven free holidays - and is currently fully booked over Easter and the Summer Holidays in 2019.

Mr Garry added:"Any doubting Thomases who didn't think North Wales really needs this, over the past decade three charities across the UK have bowed out of hospitality for the blind and demand is already far outstripping supply.

"We feel we've put North Wales back on the map. Offering something that is fully equipped to give people back their independence brought tears to the eyes of not just Karen and myself, but many of the people and their families who have holidayed with us. Everyone has been so grateful."

In addition to the positive feedback from guests, Mr Garry was also nominated to appear on the 'Charity Champion' segment of BBC Radio 2's Good Morning Sunday, where he had six minutes to discuss the work of the charity on Sunday, December 30.

For more information, visit northwalesaccessibleholidaysforblindandvisuallyimpaired.org.