Mid Sussex lunch clubs for people with sight loss need new leader as Dorothy, 88, to retire

Lunch clubs for people with sight loss in Mid Sussex are in need of a new leader.

4SIGHT – Clayton Contact Club and Hassocks Contact Club – have been running for 30 years under the leadership of Dorothy Lazenby.

4SIGHT ' Clayton Contact Club and Hassocks Contact Club are in need of a new leader

4SIGHT ' Clayton Contact Club and Hassocks Contact Club are in need of a new leader

However the 88-year-old, who was awarded the British Empire Medal for her work for 4Sight Vision Support, the the leading sight loss charity, is now ready to retire.

Dorothy said: “As a new leader I had no experience of sight loss. This comes gradually, one doesn’t need to know much about treatments, each member has medical support.

“For volunteer helpers it can give motivation, new community contacts, and the satisfaction of helping to combat loneliness.”

When Dorothy was nearing 60 she gave up her nursing career and looked for a new role as a volunteer. She heard about 4Sight Vision Support, then known as the West Sussex Association for the Blind, and decided to help.

As a new leader I had no experience of sight loss. This comes gradually, one doesn’t need to know much about treatments, each member has medical support.

Dorothy Lazenby

She heard that the Hassocks and Clayton clubs were losing their leader but was not sure whether the role would suit her.

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However she visited and was so impressed with the members and the string quartet that had come to play that she took on the job.

“The clubs flourished under her leadership with many activities, events and outings,” said a spokesman.

“Members joined not only from Clayton and Hassocks but from Burgess Hill and Hurstpierpoint.

“In 2013, Dorothy was awarded the British Empire Medal for her work for 4Sight Vision Support.”

The clubs meet at Clayton Parish Hall and St Francis Parish Hall in Hassocks on alternate Wednesdays from 10am to 2.15pm.

Lunch is provided to guests and there are often speakers, quizzes and outings. Volunteer drivers provide essential transport and volunteer club helpers, the leader and cook, all make days out a memorable event.

A spokesman added: “The majority of people with serious sight loss are elderly, many live alone and cannot easily get out of their homes.

“The clubs provide friendship, support and entertainment. In the future they may merge with the remaining club meeting fortnightly.”

People interested in taking up the role can contact Dorothy on 01444 450947.