Charity marks 160 years of working with blind people in Sheffield

Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind marked its 160th anniversary by holding a celebration dinner in Weston Park Museum.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 1:44 pm

The dinner should have been held in 2020 which was the 160th anniversary, but had to be postponed due to Covid. The rearranged event took place on Friday exactly 161 years to the day it was founded.

The choice of venue at Weston Park took the charity back to its roots, as founder Eliza Harrison used to live in Weston House, a private house which stood where the museum is today.

The guest list of more than 125 people included the Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Gail Smith, the Master Cutler Nick Williams and former MP Richard Caborn, who all spoke at the event along with SRSB’s General Manager Steve Hambleton. Other guests included clients of the charity, volunteers, staff and many supporters from other organisations and groups in South Yorkshire.

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Guests at the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind anniversary dinner

The charity has been supporting people with sight loss in the city for 161 years and has occupied several sites in the city, with its centre now on Mappin Street and its care home situated in Crosspool. In 2017, it also achieved its ambition to open a centre in Rotherham.

General manager Steve Hambleton announced at the dinner that he is to retire from SRSB at the end of year after 21 years of dedicated service to the charity and introduced his successor Joanne Ardern, currently the deputy general manager.

Steve said: “It has been a great honour and privilege to lead such a fantastic organisation and team of people through many projects over the last 21 years. There have been plenty of challenges along the way, including the complete rebuild of our Mappin Street Centre which we moved back to in 2009. More recently of course, throughout the last 18 months or so with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Hopefully, by the time I retire, the charity will be back to some semblance of normality. I will be very sad to leave but I will be leaving with many happy memories created by all the wonderful clients, volunteers and staff I have met.”

Mayor Gail Smith and Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind general manager Steve Hambleton at the anniversary dinner

Contact the charity on [email protected] or 0114 272 2757 in Sheffield and 01709 722 420 in Rotherham.

Master Cutler Nick Williams at the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind anniversary dinner
Former MP Richard Caborn at the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind anniversary dinner