A fantastic 14 people with aniridia, plus relatives came to the meet-up in London in early November. There was great chat about all aspects of life and new friendships created.
The evening started at 6pm at Belans bar on High Street Kensington. It was organised by Aniridia NetworkUK trustee James together with volunteer Heather.
There was a real mix of people: from a teenager to a pensioner and a range of sight loss too. Canes and monoculars were compared while the two guide dogs got acquainted. Many were meeting others with aniridia for the very first time. New facts were learnt and misconceptions cleared up.
Tracy who has aniridia (as well as her son) said “I really enjoyed the evening and it was great to meet so many new and lovely people! Thank you for organising it”
Keith who only joined Aniridia Network UK last month said “I had an excellent time and am looking forward to the next one.” (Read Keith’s own account of the evening) He has now volunteered to use his expertise to improve the charity’s database of contacts.
The bar management were great. The at-table service made getting food and drinks easy. At one point they asked if it was ok to turn the lights down, but then were happy to put them back up when we said it was too dark for us. The food was as delicious as when James and Heather did their reconnaissance too.
Setting the event near and straight after the Sight Village exhibition worked well as an extra draw. Four people made long journeys to come to both.
James reflected “It’s the first time the charity has arranged such an event. So we were thrilled with the level of interest. Several other people really wanted to come but sadly couldn’t this time.”
Joint host Heather said “I thought it was a very successful evening. It was great that so many people were able to join us.” Heather is now gearing up to coordinate Aniridia NetworkUK’s annual meeting in Manchester next year.
“Between now and then, we are arranging another meet-up in Coventry” said James. “In the meantime of course we encourage everyone to interact with us and each other via Facebook, Twitter and email – or in person if they wish.”
Do you fancy arranging a meet up in your area? If you find the venue Aniridia Network UK will advertise it to all our contacts. We’ll do our best to send a representative along to help host it too. We also need people in the Manchester area to help organise the annual meeting. Please get in touch with any ideas you have.