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Online Project By Galloway’s Helps Lancashire Woman Plan Her Wedding Online

Written by John Nicoll

A visually impaired woman who had written off accessing the digital world has now planned her wedding online thanks to sight loss charity Galloway’s and its digital partner Aspire Assistive CIC.

Rachel Duerden, of Southport, vowed never to use technology after she was unable to use a faulty computer a few years ago.

But during lockdown, the 49-year-old needed to get online.

So she signed up to the Galloway’s Tech Ability project, where she had remote one-to –one training on how to use accessibility software Synapptic and now she cannot believe how useful the internet is.

Rachel, who has light sensitivity and tunnel vision, said: “I never really used technology before. I didn’t have a good experience a few years ago when I tried to use a computer and it didn’t work. So I thought, ‘if I don’t have to use it, I am not going to bother.’

“But because of lockdown, the need to plan my wedding and needing to send emails, my hand was forced, so I decided to learn how to do these things and sign up to Tech Ability.

“I have found it very helpful as I have been able to do things I didn’t think I was ever able to do. If I need to look up information, I can use the internet. I just speak to the tablet and it researches for me. I have been using it to plan my wedding, so I have looked up dress shops and places to get suits, as well as cafes and places for food.

“I really like the way Andrew and Graham have taught us. Because they are visually impaired themselves, they have more of an understanding of what it is like.

“I don’t normally rave about technology but I really would recommend others try it as it has worked for me.

“If I hadn’t have signed up to this project, someone else would have had to help me plan my wedding and send emails, as I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do it myself. But it makes me feel better that I can organise it myself and be independent.”

Rachel will marry fiancé Andy, 53, at Southport Town Hall in October. They will celebrate their wedding breakfast at a cafe nearby and will spend their honeymoon in Chester.

The pair met last July in Sainsbury’s in Southport, where Andy works, and got engaged at Christmas.