Banchory restaurant hosts sensory event

Norma Spence experiences dining in the dark
Norma Spence experiences dining in the dark

A Banchory restaurant has given diners the chance to experience life without vision.

‘Dine in the Dark’ was organised by Lesia Robertson, owner of the town’s Mamma Mia Italian restaurant, and Neil Skene, fundraising co-ordinator of North East Sensory Services (NESS).

The event, which included a raffle, raised more than £500 for the charity, which will go towards providing social activities for blind and/or deaf young people and the elderly.

NESS supports more than 6,000 people who have sight and/or hearing loss, offering practical and emotional advice, with a view to achieving greater independence.

The organisation regularly holds the sensory-challenging Dine in the Dark events across the North-east, which give people the chance to experience eating and communicating with friends while blindfolded.

Diners attending the event in Banchory were treated to an authentic Italian meal cooked by chef Michele Rossetti.

Mr Skene said: “The Dine in the Dark evening is a totally unique dining experience, and the guests enjoyed trying to work out what dishes they were eating, whilst discovering how incredible their other senses can be.

“One in 30 of us lives with sight loss and many people do not know how to interact with a visually impaired or blind person, or how it feels to live without vision.

“Dining in the Dark is an entertaining way for people to get an understanding of living without sight.

“The experience is unlike any other and diners find that the lack of bright lights and distraction helps them to enjoy the textures, smells and tastes of the food they are eating a lot more than usual.”

Banchory resident and guest Beatrice Charnley said: “It was interesting to wear a blindfold and have a short insight into what the life of a partially sighted person when eating and socialising.

“Luckily I didn’t have to move from my seat, which was just as well, and demonstrated how disconcerting it would be to have to move around in an unknown space.”