Somerset Sight is celebrating 20 years of its successful volunteer visiting service.

The service, which was started in West Somerset, matches blind and partially sighted people with a volunteer for companionship and practical support.

Pat Thatcher, from Nether Stowey, has been volunteering for the service for last 17 years and has been visiting Fred, now 91, for the last eight years.

Pat says she finds volunteering for this service very rewarding and enjoyable: "Fred and I have lots of laughs, he is very outgoing and interesting and is a lovely man.

"We both love gardening and Fred likes to talk about all the prizes he used to win at the village show for his vegetables. I’d recommend anyone with the time to become a volunteer visitor."

Volunteers from across Sedgemoor met at the Admirals Landing in Bridgwater to celebrate the milestone. 

They were welcomed by volunteer visiting co-ordinator Claire Packwood and updated on volunteering news.

Kate McCallum, a visually impaired member of staff at Somerset Sight’s Resource Centre, gave the group a talk about how she came to work at the charity last year.

She also demonstrated various pieces of equipment including a pair of glasses made by Orcam. These glasses have a camera which can read text out loud and recognise faces. Kate also talked about the Amazon Echo and how it can help visually impaired people.

Holly Sutton Somerset Sight’s fundraising and development officer told the volunteers all about plans for the upcoming focus week for the service in the first week in May.

The meeting ended with a special anniversary cake to thank the volunteers for their dedication and hard work.

If you want to find out more about Somerset Sight including the charity’s volunteering opportunities call 01823 333818 or visit