Drive blind invite to Alford motoring event

Leona Glennie, who is deafblind, after driving for the first time
Leona Glennie, who is deafblind, after driving for the first time

Blind people are inviting drivers to wear a blindfold and take part in an unusual motoring event in Aberdeenshire.

North East Sensory Services (NESS) is holding its annual Drive of your Life event on Sunday, June 11, at the Grampian Transport Museum in Alford.

It will enable blind and blindfolded drivers to negotiate the track, accompanied by qualified driving instructors.

Drive of your Life was developed by NESS - which provides care and advice to people who have sight and/or hearing loss - following requests by visually impaired men and women who no longer drive, but miss the thrill of getting behind the wheel.

It has been extended this year to encourage people with full sight to experience life without vision in an extreme, yet safe, environment.

Neil Skene, the organisation’s fundraising co-ordinator, who has been blind since childhood, said: “Driving a car when you are blind or have limited sight is an incredible experience.

“Whether you are blind and have never driven, had to give up driving, or are fully-sighted wearing a blindfold, getting behind the wheel without sight can be both frightening and exciting.

“For people who did drive, but had to stop due to a loss of eyesight, the feeling of being in control of a car again can be very powerful.”

Graham Findlay, NESS chief executive, has himself enjoyed the Drive Of Your Life experience.

He said: “It’s been over 25 years since I reluctantly gave up driving, but your body and mind don’t forget those basic skills, and as soon as I got behind the wheel, I felt like I had never stopped.”

Drive of your Life must be pre-booked with a charge of £15 per person, either at www.nesensoryservices.org or by emailing susan.hewitt@nesensoryservices.org or calling 0345 271 2345.

Formerly Grampian Society for the Blind (GSB), NESS works with more than 6,000 people with a sensory impairment in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee, Elgin and Moray.