Tributes to Redbridge Talking Newspaper founder whose inventions helped the blind
PUBLISHED: 17:01 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:01 11 May 2020
A longtime Seven Kings resident who helped thousands of blind people become more independent through his voluntary work and inventions died after contracting Covid-19.
John Terence Slade was born with congenital cataracts which impaired his vision, a condition which he passed on to his children as well.
He was determined to help blind and visually impaired people live their lives on an equal footing with everyone else.
John, who was 83 when he died on April 17, was the chairman of the Ilford Blind Welfare Association.
A longtime banker, John set up the Redbridge Talking Newspaper in his free time.
The service recorded newspaper articles from the Ilford Recorder and other publications and sent it to blind people across the borough so they could still get their local news.
Daughter Valerie Humphries said: “It’s a lot easier now with apps but in the 1970s when my dad came up with the Redbridge Talking Newspaper it was a total gamechanger because there was no other way.”
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He also invented a system to help colour blind people recognise colours based on a corresponding shape.
He came upon the invention after watching his daughter Valerie playing a board game with a friend who was colour blind and seeing her struggle.
He came up with a simple system where a different shape matched to a colour - a square was black, a circle was white etc.
From that invention sprang an idea to create shape-buttons that could be sewed onto clothing so colour blind people would be able to match the colours of their outfits together.
Valerie said: “Dad never let his condition stop him from living his life and up until recently he was working on a concept to help blind people learn Braille easily since a lot of people aren’t learning it anymore.”
John lived in Seven Kings for more than 50 years, but moved to the Midlands five years ago to be closer to his family.
He is survived by his three children and three grandchildren.
His funeral will take place on Wednesday, May 13 and the family has asked for donations in lieu of flowers be sent to Marie Curie Hospice.
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