A CLUB for visually impaired people in Launceston is set to mark 80 years of meetings by bringing members and volunteers together for a lunchtime celebration. 

Launceston Visually Impaired Club will be having a very special meeting on Tuesday, May 7 to mark the anniversary of its founding in 1944.  

The club was first created by iSightCornwall, then known as Cornwall County Association for the Blind, and was inspired by the success of ‘Tea for the Blind’ socials organised by the charity in the years before the club’s formation. 

The group quickly grew and the 1944 annual report reads ‘monthly socials in Launceston have proved most successful’ which led to the charity creating more monthly meet ups in other areas across Cornwall. 

As the club was formed during World War 2, the members would make the most of their rations and get together for a cup of tea and a slice of cake when possible. 

Over the years the club has seen hundreds come and go, as well as valued volunteers, and now exists as a thriving lunch club which sees the members visiting a wide variety of local pubs and restaurants to enjoy a sit-down meal together. 

Club member, Kath Biddick said: “The club is brilliant, it’s great for socialising, I’ve made lots of new friends and I look forward to going every time. It’s been a lifeline for me, I would even say it saved me. It’s such an important club to have in the community because, for some of our members, it’s the only time they get to leave the house and I know they look forward to it so much. 

“We all have such a great time, and all the volunteers are absolutely amazing, they’ll even pick you up from your house if you’re not able to get to the venue independently and I know we’re all so grateful to them for giving up their time and being so wonderful.” 

 Early in the club’s history, the members even formed a bell-ringing group, and to commemorate this, the celebration will also feature a performance from local bellringers who will be joining a male voice choir in entertaining the attendees. 

Carole Theobald, iSightCornwall chief executive, said: “It’s so wonderful to be able to celebrate 80 years of Launceston Visually Impaired Club. One of the biggest challenges for people experiencing sight loss can be the isolation or loneliness and thanks to clubs like Launceston, our members are able to enjoy an afternoon out where they can catch up with friends, get support from people who understand and get out and about in their local community. 

“We’re so looking forward to the celebration and I know that it’s going to be a lovely day with the club’s members and volunteers.”