Michael Hosts Charity Event Combating Avoidable Blindness in the Commonwealth

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust is a charity which has raised over £50 million to put towards preventing avoidable blindness: training eye doctors around the world, and providing medical support, equipment and education.

Their Chief Executive Astrid Bonfield came to see me a few months ago to tell me about their work, and mentioned that they held a roving exhibition of photographs, called ‘Time to See’, which is part of their fund-raising effort.

I arranged permission to put on their exhibition for a week in Parliament so that MPs from around the country could see their good work and perhaps help promote the cause in their own areas. I hosted this exhibition in the week beginning 11th January and it was very well received.

The exhibition looks at the impact of avoidable blindness around the world, as well as the work being carried out to end it. While the number of people suffering from blindness has dropped significantly in developed countries like the UK in the last century, sadly, many of the less developed countries around the world do not have the same access to quality diagnosis and treatment. Many causes of blindness can be relatively easily treated, if diagnosed quickly, and provided the appropriate medical care is available.

I have worked closely with Guide Dogs UK in Northampton in the past on issues to do with blindness, and I know first-hand of the generosity of Northampton North constituents when it comes to charitable giving.

One of the greatest privileges of being an MP is that I am able to reflect that local generosity by hosting events like this, which will have a real impact on the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.