Trowbridge mayor David Halik walked through the town centre blindfolded using a white stick on Saturday morning to understand the struggles facing people with sight problems.

Town councillor Halik was invited to do the 45-minute trip of the town, carrying out everyday tasks, by Trowbridge Lions Club.

The mayor visited Trowbridge’s sensory garden and the market in Castle Place, bought a coffee and withdrew money from a cash machine.

Cllr Halik, who was partially guided by Trowbridge town crier Trevor Heeks, said: “It was a very interesting experience. As I didn’t have my sight, my sense of hearing and smell seemed to really increase.

“After having an experience like that I’d encourage those who are planning pedestrian crossings and are wondering what considerations are needed for the blind to have a go as it’s hard to make a judgement without experiencing what it’s actually like.”

In 1925, American political activist Helen Keller, the first deafblind person to get a US university degree, pleaded for the Lions Club to become ‘knights of the blind’ and since then their groups worldwide have worked to help those with visual impairments.

American Lion George A Bonham introduced blind people to using a white stick to help their mobility in 1930.

The society’s groups across the world have raised about £400m to treat reversible blindness.

John Greenway, of Trowbridge Lions, said: “Getting the mayor involved has helped highlight the work we are doing supporting the blind and the difficulties they encounter.

“As a group we work hard to highlight preventable blindness and I’d encourage everyone to have regular eye tests.”

Trowbridge Lions has collection boxes in the town’s opticians which sees about 2,000 pairs of old glass donated each year.

These are sorted and given to disadvantaged people with vision problems all over the world who cannot afford glasses.

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