Disabled group’s barbecue in Rainham helps celebrate 40 years helping Havering’s partially sighted

Jacqueline Scott with John and Peter Slattery. Pictures: Ellie Hoskins

Jacqueline Scott with John and Peter Slattery. Pictures: Ellie Hoskins - Credit: Archant

A group helping Havering’s disabled residents celebrated its 40th anniversary in style this weekend with a fun-filled barbecue.

John Slattery is one of three members of the Partially Sighted Society (PSS) in Havering to have been involved from its very inception four decades ago, and he was very pleased with how the celebration at Rainham’s Avelon Road Centre went.

“It was a really good day, there was a nice relaxed atmosphere and everyone was happy and talking to each other,” Mr Slattery told the Recorder.

“We were worried about the weather but it was okay, we thought a couple of people might call it quits if they got too cold but everyone was very sociable and it was just about okay.”

And as a result of his long-running service, members of the society’s committee presented John with a certificate of appreciation on the day.

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“I really wasn’t expecting it and it was quite emotional actually,” he admitted.

The PSS was started in June 1977 by Doreen Spence, in a meeting room in Central Library, Romford.

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Unfortunately, in 1978 Ms Spence gave up running the society due to ill health, and Doreen Slattery took over.

By 1983 the society had grown so large new premises were needed, and the PSS soon found a new home at Romford’s Mawney Road Day Centre.

It would remain there until the centre closed in 1996, when it would find a new homes at the Faringdon Centre in Harold Hill.

Now, the PSS is based at the Yew Tree Resource Centre in London Road, Romford.

For the last six years, its annual summer BBQ gives its members a chance to meet and socialise – but that’s not all the group does.

Mr Slattery said: “In recent years we have arranged a number of tactile tours of the Palace of Westminster and the Bank of England museum, arranged an audio tour of Buckingham Palace and a trip to the resource centre at the RINB at Judd Street.

“We also run two groups at the Yew Tree Resource Centre where we provide advice, information, social interaction and support for those who have a visual impairment, their friends and carers.”

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