THE chairman of sight loss charity Southend in Sight has stepped down, leaving a good legacy behind him.

During his time of being associated with the Southend Blind Welfare Organisation (SBWO), David Hurst has played a crucial role in developing the charity.

It was under his guidance that the community arm of the organisation became known as Southend in Sight.

David started as a “Round Tabler” and helped to collect funds for the charity during it’s annual flag week when he began all those years ago.

He was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Trustees in January 2015, and has remained actively involved ever since, helping to implement new ideas and make connections with other organisations both locally and nationally who could assist the visually impaired.

David’s contacts and network also proved vital in developing various charity projects, such as refurbishing the layout at the charity’s base on Hamlet Court Road and making their resource centre more accessible for visually impaired users. The centre provide talking books and newspapers and offer advice on specialist apps, computer programmes and mobile phones.

As well as this, David also contributed in helping to give the charity’s shop with a makeover.

Speaking of his time and achievements as chairman, Mr Hurst said: “I’ve learnt a great deal over the last four years and am pleased with the progress we have made. To be chosen as the mayor’s charity this year and to be nominated for a Queen’s Award for volunteers for example are tremendous recognisable achievements.

“These and many more significant gains for the visually impaired in Southend have only been made possible by the selfless dedication of the trustees, our strong, determined and loyal band of volunteers and excellent caring staff.

“I’m delighted that Russell is taking over. His knowledge and awareness of the needs of the visually impaired will, I have no doubt, be of great benefit to the organisation and those it aims to help.”

Vice Chairman of the Trustees, Stephanie Cooper, said: “David had a vision of the way forward for the charity which he has carried through. He leaves behind an amazing legacy which we will continue to build on.

“Apart from helping raise the profile of our charity, David has found time to learn to play the saxophone, organise a monthly river clean on the River Roach, plant Christmas trees on his small holding, be appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Essex and I’m sure many other things. We wish him well in all his future endeavours.”

Russell Cable will be passed the baton, taking over as chairman of the trustees this month.

Russell, who has a visual impairment himself, and has managed the charity’s database, said: “I’m delighted to take on my new role as Chairman of the Trustees and would like to add my own thanks to David for his dedication and hard work over the last 5 years.

“I first became involved with Southend Blind Welfare in 2015 when I started volunteering in the equipment centre. I was welcomed into the charity at a low point in my life but I quickly felt at home and gained a real feeling of worth again.

“SBWO has introduced me into a new group of good friends all with varying degrees of sight loss. Meeting others in similar situations to yourself is a real confidence booster. It has made me realise there is no point trying to hide the fact you are visually impaired, something I always tried to cover up from fear of ridicule.

“I now have the opportunity to flourish in a career I never thought I could have. I owe it all to the good work done at SBWO, and am really proud to be a part of the team here and have the opportunity to help others in a similar situation to my own.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge.”