Esther meeting Ginny the Guide Dog (and owner Brian) to talk about obstructions

AN MP met with a blind constituent to witness first hand the daily difficulties he faces and the small changes we could all make to help make life less difficult for people with visual problems.

Tatton MP Esther McVey met Bryan Rigg who has been registered blind since 1985, after he contacted her to tell her of the challenges he faces daily trying to get around.

Ms McVey, along with Mr Rigg, James Morris, the PCSO and Adam Marsh from the Guide Dog training centre in Atherton followed the regular route to Mr Riggs’ home near The Carrs to Kenmore Medical Centre.

Ms McVey said: “People with visual impairments face so many challenges every day and have to manoeuvre around things that many of us take for granted. Seeing first hand the difficulties faced made me appreciate how we all need to be a bit more considerate and make small changes which will make a big difference to people like Bryan.

“Things like taking our bins back once they have been collected, cutting back tree branches and not parking partly on the pavement are simple ways we can help.”

The day of the walk saw torrential rain fall but Mr Rigg explained he was unable to wear a hat as it could be knocked off by overhanging branches and he was unable to find the hat once it was on the ground.

Mr Rigg said: “I often struggle with pavements, Guide Dogs are trained to take their owners to the kerb if they encounter an obstacle where they are told on command to take them into the road and then to “find the pavement.” This can pose a risk as we only know if a car is coming based on noise and many electric cars do not make noise.

“Recently I went for a walk along the river Bollin and returned via Kings Road, Carrwood Road, Broad Walk and Hawthorn Lane. On this journey I encountered several refuse bins and had to leave the pavement nine times to avoid them – thus putting myself (and Ginny) in danger and upsetting some drivers who had to avoid us.

“I tend to avoid this area on Mondays, Hawthorn Lane and the Albert Road area on Fridays and the Lacey Green Road area on Thursdays as I know that I am at risk of being injured. There are overhanging tree branches and overgrown hedges too numerous to list that also cause a problem.”

Mr Rigg said parking vehicles on pavements was also a big problem and told Ms McVey just last week how he injured his forehead on a wing-mirror from a lorry parked on Styal Road, which was unloading scaffolding.

Ms McVey added: “I wanted to join Bryan on his walk to understand first hand the issues he was having. I also understand that, a lot of the time, sighted people have no reason to realise there is a problem and therefore don’t know their actions are causing an issue. I am hopeful this will help raise the profile of the matter and I am delighted that James and Adam were able to join us.

“Separately, I will be talking to Cheshire East again to ask them to ensure empty bins are not left in the middle of pavements’’