A deafblind Chippenham man who uses his own experiences to help others has won an award from a national charity.
Charlie Turrell, 50, has Usher’s Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that means he is deaf and suffers with tunnel vision, poor night vision and poor balance.
He was presented with the Action for Hearing Loss Champion of Delivering Results award for his tireless commitment to improving support and accessibility for residents at Watery Lane Cottage in Bath, which provides high-quality care for people who are deafblind with additional special needs.
Mr Turrell, who will be presented with a certificate, also founded the Chippen-ham Signing Club, where people learning sign language can join him in The Brunel pub fortnightly to practise in a fun environment.
He said he was inspired to volunteer after the death of his hearing dog Mickey three years ago. The loss of Mickey made him feel less independent and made him more aware of the difficulties other deafblind people less able than himself must face.
“Since my beloved Mick-ey’s death three years ago, it was suggested that I ask for a voluntary job for Action on Hearing Loss,” he said.
“Then Kate Seagrave (who is in charge at Watery Lane Cottage) heard about me and she was very keen to have me for a part of her team, because I was the perfect person for a deafblind role.”
Mr Turrell said he is delighted to have won the award for his achievements.
“At first, I was very surprised and overwhelmed when I received the letter about the award as I did not expect it,” he said.
“For many months, I have had a lot of achievements helping people become more aware of deafblind people’s needs. I have received some brilliant feedback since I began to work as a volunteer.
“One of the most rewarding things is that my deafblind awareness training has had a good influence on other people for their future skills.”
Mr Turrell said that all are welcome to attend his hearing group.
“It is a positive challenge for everyone to meet up together,” he said.
“We meet up at The Brunel from 7.30pm on every first Monday of the month. New or rusty signers will receive a very warm welcome if they join with us.”
To find out more about the Chippenham Signing Club, email: firstname.lastname@example.org