Torch Trust - 50 years

 

Torch Trust, a Christian organisation serving blind and partially sighted people, celebrated its 50th anniversary in June. A series of celebratory events throughout the year marks the 50th anniversary.

People who are blind or partially sighted often find themselves isolated and lonely - excluded from many of the social things that sighted people take for granted. Even in church they may feel left out and find their needs are not adequately addressed. Without sight they cannot read the church news and find it difficult to seek out friends and make new friendships. This is where Torch Fellowship Groups fill a need. They are not an alternative to church but do provide an opportunity for Christian fellowship - visually impaired and sighted people together - but where vision is not an issue. The groups are non-denominational Christian groups. They are locally organised and led by local Christians. Marilyn Baker, well known as a singer and songwriter and now Chair of Torch Trust said, ‘Torch has been so important to my own Christian journey. It’s not just the access to books and magazines in braille or audio formats, it’s about being accepted as a person and as a Christian. The love and pastoral help given to me by the Heaths, the Torch founders, gave me the confidence to embark on my own ministry. I want to see everyone with sight loss not only accepted within the Church but becoming truly part of it and enabled to lead a fulfilling Christian life.’

The story began when Stella and Ron Heath opened their home to blind young men and women from a training school in Surrey. They were confronted with how difficult it was for blind people to be included in church life and to have access to the Bible and other Christian books. The Heaths learned braille and recruited volunteers to help them in the work of transcribing, later moving into making audio recordings. On June 8, 1959, they formally took over a magazine for blind people called The Torch and the formative trust behind it. The aim of Torch Trust is to overcome sight loss as a barrier to finding personal faith in Christ and living a fulfilled Christian life.

 

Here at Carley the Torch fellowship was led for a number of years by Gladys Stukin with other members giving support. The Leicester group now meets at Gedding Road. One of our former members Nessa Graham also works at Torch headquarters in Market Harborough.

 

Read more by looking out for the Torch family news Golden anniversary edition and if you are in the London Area any time listen to Marilyn on Premier Radio, or even over the internet.

 

(Taken from: Torch Family News Golden Anniversary edition, and Torch Trust website www.torchtrust.org)

 

 

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