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Tuesday, 11 August 2020


Derbyshire blind chef pens cookbook for the visually-impaired

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A blind veteran from Derbyshire is in the process of writing a cookbook of recipes which demonstrate valuable techniques when cooking and visually-impaired.

Simon Mahoney, 73 and from Ashbourne, hopes to inspire blind people across the UK who may be scared of cooking to become confident and make meals from scratch themselves.

He said:

“Cooking when you’re blind is no small task. But over the years I’ve learnt all sorts of tips and tricks which can help enormously to stay safe and cook up a storm in the kitchen. I hope this book can help other visually-impaired people like myself to overcome their fears and start cooking.

“The book will cover a variety of techniques from logistical basics like putting a chopping board on a tray to contain mess to utilising technology like audio-labelling cans for identification. The recipes will be graded by difficulty and begin from making a cup of tea, going all the way up to producing a meal from scratch.”

Simon is writing the book using a specially adapted PC and word-processing software supplied by the military charity that supports blind and partially-sighted veterans, Blind Veterans UK.

Simon served in the Royal Marines as a Junior Officer in the 60s. It was later in life at the age of 66 that Glaucoma stole his sight which was in steady decline until he lost his sight completely two years ago. Luckily Simon found out about Blind Veterans UK, who have been supporting him ever since.

He said:

“I can’t thank Blind Veterans UK enough for the support they’ve given me over the years. By training me up on this computer I’m now able to share my knowledge of cooking while blind with others in the same position as myself.

“Blind Veterans UK have always been there alongside me to navigate the challenges that arise when adapting to life with sight loss.

“From practical support like white-cane training which has meant I’m able to get out and about in my local area to their general warmth and understanding nature, they have been absolutely fantastic. Every day I thank god that I’m part of this wonderful charity.”

Simon gives back to the charity by volunteering as a telephone befriender, calling other blind veterans who may be isolated or lonely and providing companionship.

The book is called ‘First catch your rabbit’ and will be available before Christmas. It will be released as an e-book to make it accessible on specially adapted devices.

Blind Veterans UK has adapted its service to support its 5,000 beneficiaries, 90% of whom are over 70 and at an increased risk from Covid-19. The National Support Service will help blind veterans through this period of social isolation.

Nicky Shaw, Blind Veterans UK Director of Operations said:

“Living in isolation, blind veterans need our help right now with daily tasks, such as shopping, and constant emotional support through this difficult time. So we are temporarily changing our service and mobilising our staff to provide practical, essential support to help the most vulnerable.

“There is so much that we can and must do to support blind veterans to help them maintain physical and emotional wellbeing, and to feel safe, reassured and cared for during this crisis.”

You can keep updated on Blind Veterans UK’s response to COVID-19 at blindveterans.org.uk/coronavirus where you can also find out more about supporting the charity to make this new service possible.

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