, even for those who one might have imagined would be excluded from it. Many a shopper in our store here at The
ToolPost would be astounded at the suggestion of someone being a skilled woodturner even without the gift of sight - and yet, that is precisely the case for Bill Mooney.
The 72-year old, of Annfield Plain
in County Durham, was present at the birthday bash of Blind Veterans UK at the Thistle Hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne earlier this month. Bill wished to thank the organisation for its assistance when retinal detachment
meant that he began losing his vision. The great-grandad joined the Royal Artillery in 1964, serving in the UK prior to being discharged as a gunner in 1969. The charity was formed in 1915, and provides lifelong support
to ex-service men and women who have lost their sight.
Bill has said that although he can see colours and movement, his vision is blurred, adding: "The best way to describe it is - when you come out
after a shower and your mirror is steamed up, that is what I see. When your vision is affected, you can get a great sense of isolation. You don't feel as though you are a part of what is going on."
The loss of his sight caused Bill to presume that he would never be able to resume his woodturning hobby. He was happily proved wrong, however, when Blind Veterans UK helped him to adapt his methods so that he could
continue producing his work. He even made a special centenary bowl from Burr Elm, presenting it to the charity.
As Bill explained: "They helped me to retrain and use different techniques so I could
continue with my hobby. I now make things like pens and hedgehogs and sell them in aid of the charity. I don't know how to describe the change in my life, apart from that my whole outlook has gone from half-empty to
We're lucky enough to have met the man himself, through his tutor Andrew Hall, a long-time friend of The ToolPost. Andrew knew Bill before he lost his sight, and while he was already a
keen and skilled turner, he understandably lost confidence in his craft following the loss of his sight. With the help of Andrew, we were very happy to help Bill regain his confidence in woodturning through the
provision of tools and advice in how to adapt his existing skills in order to take into account his blindness.
Here at The ToolPost, to say that we are impressed by both the charity's work and Bill's
wonderful woodturning would be an understatement. It is certainly a story to remind yourself of if you are making any excuses of your own to avoid getting back into woodturning, whatever your own circumstances.