Ron Alexander considers himself ‘one of the lucky ones’ as he lost his sight later in life and was able to work, drive and raise a family before it happened.
His eyesight deteriorated gradually due to macular degeneration and a detached retina and around four years ago he was left with just peripheral vision.
The 64-year-old used to enjoy many hobbies, including cycling, fishing, walking, reading and gardening.
“I did an awful lot of stuff,” he said,
“You don’t realise how much you do until you can’t do it anymore.
“I had to stop driving obviously – but it was cycling that really got me. That was the thing that hit me hard.”
Ron, who lives in Moreton, Merseyside, with his wife, then discovered Henshaws in Liverpool – a charity which runs a resource centre for people with sight loss and other disabilities.
There he got lots of support, met other visually impaired people and was made aware of British Wireless for the Blind Fund, which provided him with a Concerto 2 radio.
As someone with a huge collection of books, Ron was keen to find other ways to enjoy them and has found his set great for listening to talking books.
“I have found my radio invaluable since I got it,” he said.
“I listen to lots of the BBC stations because you don’t get the adverts and I listen to the local radio every day as they have a phone in.”
Everton fan Ron also enjoys listening to football, particularly on Talk Sport where he can get updates from all the matches which are being played.
Ron says the most important thing about his radio is that he feels it has given him his independence back.
He says: “Once I’ve tuned in all my channels, I know which is which and I can do it without having to ask anybody which is very important.
“I would have had to wait until somebody was able to give me assistance but I can do it on my own without having to ask anyone else.
“It’s portable – I can take it around with me so if my wife is going out somewhere I can go and sit in the garden and listen. It feels like it’s part of my independence.”
Ron says he also likes the bright yellow colour of the controls, which have been very important, and the USB function, which he says is a relatively new discovery for him.
Having several talking books all in one place has been really useful for him as it makes things a lot less complicated.
Ron says while he knows some people think it’s old-fashioned having cassettes and CDs, he says he’s found from his own and many other people’s experience that they have thousands of tapes so it’s vital they have a way to play them.
“A lot of people I know don’t watch TV – they listen to the radio,” he said.
“I think as I get older as well I will probably listen to the radio a lot more. Music becomes much more important.
“I live with my wife but an awful lot of people I come across live alone so the radio is company for them. If they didn’t have that they wouldn’t hear a voice every day.
“It’s really important because radio becomes your friend.
“Since I got this system it’s been absolutely brilliant – I don’t know what I would do without it.”