Andover-based sight loss charity the Macular Society took over the town’s Market Square on Monday (26 June) to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
The charity, which has its head offices in South Street, Andover, organised a mouth-watering mix of live music and interactive games to mark its 30th birthday, and to raise awareness of macular conditions at the same time.
Throughout the day, visitors enjoyed a variety of entertainment including jive dancers, face painting, live folk music and a ukulele band. For a small donation, people were also able to take part in games including a Human Fruit Machine, and Find Mac, which saw participants trying to locate 15 images of Mac, the Society’s mascot in various shop windows around Andover town centre. The lucky winners of Find Mac were Stuart Bench and Abigail Jackson. Stuart received vouchers for Finkley Down Farm Park and an owl mug, while Abigail picked up a pair of sunglasses donated by Leightons Opticians and tickets for Great Western Railway.
Cllr Carl Borg-Neal, the mayor of Test Valley, also dropped by to lend his support to the event. Cllr Borg-Neal took part in a guiding exercise through the town, wearing a pair of specially-adapted glasses which simulate the level of vision a person with macular degeneration may have.
The event also signalled the start of Macular Week, which runs from 26 June – 2 July. Now in its third year, Macular Week aims to increase awareness of macular disease, as well as highlighting the importance of research funding, which could help to find a cure for macular disease.
This year’s Macular Week has ‘Smoking and Sight Loss’ as its central theme. Throughout the week, Macular Society volunteers and members all over the UK have been holding events to raise awareness of the connection between smoking and sight.
Thanks to generous donations from members of the public, the charity raised £245.53 on the day, which will be added to money raised at other Macular Week events around the country. This will provide vital funding the Society can use to continue supporting people with macular conditions, as well as investment for ongoing research into macular disease.
Tom McInulty, Macular Society head of fundraising, said: “Events like this us the chance to highlight the effects of macular disease, and how crucial it is that we continue to fund research into macular conditions, so that one day, we can find a cure.
“We’re really grateful to all of the local organisations who supported the event and donated prizes. Everyone had a great time and we’d like to say thank you to everyone who came along. It was a fabulous way to celebrate our 30th anniversary.”
The Macular Society would like to thank all of the local organisations which allowed images of Mac to be posted in their stores: Old Traditions; Solitaire; Mooch; Ambrosia 69; Little Cottage; Specsavers; Blue Onion; The Unlimited Company; C&M DIY Centre; Travelling Cup Cake; Millets; Andover Framing; Leightons Opticians; Claire’s Accessories, Holland and Barrett.
For more information about macular degeneration, call the Macular Society’s helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.