Living Paintings launches fund raising campaign at Wasing

The Kingsclere based Living Paintings is a wonderful award winning and life changing, national charity. It enables blind and partially sighted people to read through touch. The charity design, create and publish special versions of pictures with raised surfaces that come to life when fingers feel them. Often narrated by well-known voices, sound recordings direct the fingers telling the stories of the pictures and describing their features, making up for the missing sense of sight. It transforms the lives of blind and partially sighted children by ending the isolation and exclusion that they experience on a daily basis. The Touch to See books are suitable for anyone from pre-school to adult and they bring favourite children’s stories to life, including Peppa Pig, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Stick Man.

Formed in 1989 by Alison Oldland MBE, Living Paintings aims to improve the quality of life of blind and partially sighted people. The Touch to See resources are provided completely free of charge, meaning all visually impaired people no matter where they live can have access and gain a feel for the visual world.

On Tuesday 25th July, Living Paintings used Lower Park at Wasing for a photo and video shoot of their unique, latest fund raising and awareness campaign, with a 44 tonne lorry and a very special little girl, Tayen, aged 5. The aim is to raise £50,000 and get a truck load of books! Instead of the usual plastic tarpaulin, the lorry has been wrapped with the one and only, children’s favourite, the Gruffalo from the picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The lorry, a Ford Motor Company vehicle, will travel throughout the UK & Europe.

Tayen went blind at the age of 2 as a result of tumours on her optic nerves caused by the condition neurofibromatosis or NF1.  She is one of the thousands of blind and partially sighted children across the country who have been able to ‘see’ the Gruffalo thanks to Living Paintings unique, Touch to See books.  The image of her reading one of the books appears on the lorry alongside the Gruffalo and she was excited to meet him in person. Tayen’s mum said: “When Tayen lost her sight we knew that we had to ensure that she could enjoy books again one day. Reading had been central to all our children’s lives from very early on.  Thankfully we discovered Living Paintings and Tayen has never looked back.  She loves to feel the pictures in the books and reading with her is one of the great joys of our lives.”

After the photo shoot, everyone enjoyed coffee, cake and story-telling time at Wasing’s ‘Secret Walled Garden’, which was a wonderful way to finish the event.

Living Paintings has the support of hundreds of actors and presenters including Sir Derek Jacobi, Lord Julian Fellowes, Joanna Lumley, Sir Terry Wogan, Michael Sheen, Martin Clunes, David Walliams, Hugh Bonneville, Warwick Davies and Martin Freeman who have all lent their voices to the audio descriptions. We at Wasing are delighted to be able to support this amazing charity too.

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