Blind teenager Liam Mackin has praised the generosity of Bradford folk who donated cash to his chosen charity Living Paintings on Christmas Eve.
Liam, 19, of Shipley, and his dad Dean dressed up as the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz and shook their collecting tins in Bradford city centre.
“We raised money for Living Paintings, a charity which produces tactile images and tactile books for blind and visually-impaired people throughout the UK,” said Liam, who has won many awards for his courageous charity work.
He suffers from a one-in-ten million genetic condition called Alstrom Syndrome, which can disable different body functions.
And in Liam’s case it affected his eyes and cost him his sight at just ten years old.
“I’ve used Living Paintings for a long time as it is the only organisation to offer such a service, as well as being completely free,” Liam said.
He is now working to promote the unique library service based in Reading which sends out adapted books and paintings across the country.
“It is mainly for children as they take ordinary picture books and put braille passages into the books together with tactile things which let you feel what is being written about.
“But there are also adult tactile packs which have things such as British wildlife or classic book collections such as Alice in Wonderland,” Liam said.
“Wildlife is particularly interesting, because I may not have seen a badger or a seagull and might have no idea what to imagine.
“So these packs are a terrific help.”
He is personally helping develop new products aimed at blind or partially-sighted teenagers.
“We’ve just completed a new book on football and we’re working on a new one to do with fashion.
“The way the tactile books are made is that a plastic cast is taken of a carved wooden shape – say a mini-football stadium – and then that is used as a mould to make the shapes that come with the books,” Liam explained.
Details of how to donate to Living Paintings are at www.livingpaintings.org.