How chance meeting changed South Woodford woman’s life

FOUR years ago visually impaired Pamela Kench was in Sainsbury’s struggling to see the price of some apples.

The 85-year-old, of High View Road, South Woodford, turned to a customer standing nearby and asked her for help, but the response sent both women into a fit of giggles.

“Sorry. I’m in the same boat as you. I can’t see it either.”

Mrs Kench had by chance met a member of the Wanstead and Woodford Association for the Blind and she soon joined.

It was a move which she says was “one of the best decisions of her life”.

The association holds weekly meetings at Woodford Green United Reformed Church, High Elms, and members enjoy chatting over refreshments and cakes.

They are also treated to entertainment, which has included speakers from the police and fire brigade, and a variety of musical performances.

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Mrs Kench said: “I love coming here.

“The companionship this club provides is a joy and I’ve met some wonderful friends.”

Dorothy Bass, 83, of Kings Avenue, Woodford Green, added: “I don’t get out much anymore, but I look forward to Thursdays, which really brighten up my week.”

A team of drivers from the Leytonstone and Woodford Rotary Club transports members to and from the church.

The association was formed in 1942 by wounded soldiers who were being cared for by St Dunstan’s, a charity which provides training and rehabilitation to blind ex-servicemen and women.

It began as a group of five, who met up in a front room, and according to diary entries they embarked on various outings including “rambles through the forest”.

Now there are more than 60 members who enjoyed their Christmas meal to the delight of chairman Margaret Croft.

Mrs Croft, who has been involved with the club for more than 40 years, said: “For a lot of our members this is the only time they will get out in the week so we want to make it special.

“Some are totally blind, whereas others are partially sighted, and we have a team of experienced helpers who look after them and make sure they are comfortable.

“This club makes a lot of people very happy and I am so proud to be a part of it.”

For information on how to join, call 020 8504 7629.