SHE may be blind, but that isn’t going to stop 90-year-old Betty Richards from completing her sixth charity abseil!

The plucky nonogenarian will be abseiling from the top of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth to raise funds and awareness for the Macular Society.

She will be leaping down with friend Tom McInulty, 64, from Bitterne Park, who is also blind.

“I know a lot of people say I’m crazy to be doing this at my age and registered blind, but I have very strong feelings that more should be done for research into sight loss, especially macular degeneration, which is the primary cause of sight loss across the developed world,” said the great grandmother from Fareham.

The pair will be abseiling down the Emirates Spinnaker Tower on August 27, and hope to raise £500 for the Macular Society, for which Tom is a regional manager.

Tom has total sight loss and hadn’t realised how tall the Spinnaker Tower was when Betty persuaded him to take part.

“When someone says a tower, you think of a fire tower. Then they told me that it’s taller than Big Ben - well, I can remember what that looks like!” exclaimed Tom.

“I’m so nervous. She’s much cooler than I am.

“She asked if I would do it if she did, and the next thing I new she said she’d been to the doctor and got the all clear, so we’re going ahead with it.”

The macula is part of the retina and is responsible for our central vision. there are many forms of macular disease, with age related macular degeneration (AMD) being the most common. In the UK, around 600,000 are affected by AMD.

Betty began to lose her sight around 25 years ago, through macular degeneration. She now has peripheral vision but cannot see well enough to go out on her own.

However, she doesn’t let that slow her down, and keep herself busy doing voluntary work, recently receiving the Les Ballard award for volunteering in honour of her 50 years voluntary work.

She founded the Fareham Macular Support Group and is now its deputy chair.

“I believe very strongly that there needs to be more research so for future generations there will be a cure for macular degeneration,” said Betty.

“I did my first abseil years ago, down what was then the tallest building in Portsmouth. I was more agile then!”

Tom is hoping Betty will be able to give him some tips from her abseiling experience to help calm his nerves.

He adds: “I think my sight loss might actually be an advantage when we come to do it!”

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