Michael and The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust is an excellent charity, named of course in honour of The Queen, which has set itself two goals for 2017: “the empowerment of a new generation of young leaders” and “the prevention of avoidable blindness”. The Trust has raised over £50 million which is being put towards preventing avoidable blindness: training eye doctors around the world and providing medical support, equipment and education.

The charity’s Chief Executive Dr Astrid Bonfield, and Mrs Eleanor Fuller, their Director of Commonwealth Engagement, came to the House of Commons to give me an update about the work of the Trust.

During the meeting, Dr Bonfield and Mrs Fuller were able to update me on the Trust’s efforts in tackling avoidable blindness, and I was very impressed with the progress that they are making. In recent years, there has been a significant reduction in the number of people living in developing countries suffering from blindness thanks in no small part to the work of the Trust. Yet, there is still much more that can be done in this area, especially as many causes of blindness can be effectively treated, if diagnosed quickly.

I was delighted that The Trust also gave me a copy of their new book “Time To See”; a photographic anthology on their programme to tackle avoidable blindness.

I have been a long-standing supporter of the Trust; last year, I arranged for the Trust to hold a photographic exhibition for a week in Parliament so that MPs from around the country could see their good work. I hosted this exhibition in the week beginning 11th January last year and it was very well received. I also supported the Trust at the time of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.