Ex-po­lice­man sets his sights on help­ing oth­ers in north

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - FEATURES - BY ALIS­TAIR MUNRO

A for­mer po­lice­man, who is now liv­ing in the High­lands, has been ap­pointed as the new re­gional man­ager for north-west Scot­land of na­tional sight loss char­ity, the Mac­u­lar So­ci­ety.

John Furze, from Drum­nadro­chit, has joined the char­ity af­ter a spell as a vol­un­teer with char­ity Sight Ac­tion in In­ver­ness.

He be­gan his ca­reer as a po­lice of­fi­cer in Birm­ing­ham, spend­ing 30 years in the force.

Then, for eight years, he was a town clerk in Som­er­set, be­fore be­com­ing a locum town clerk, based in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions across Eng­land.

He also spent time in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, based in Ge­or­gia in the US.

Mr Furze, who is now en­joy­ing semi-retirement in the pic­turesque High­land vil­lage next to Loch Ness, said: “This is a re­ally ex­cit­ing time to be join­ing the Mac­u­lar So­ci­ety and I can’t wait to get started.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing closely with all our sup­port groups, mem­bers and vol­un­teers across the re­gion and all our part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions, so that we can spread the word about mac­u­lar con­di­tions, and help peo­ple with mac­u­lar dis­ease to get the level of as­sis­tance they need to con­tinue liv­ing their lives in­de­pen­dently.”

In his new role, Mr Furze will be re­spon­si­ble for the Mac­u­lar So­ci­ety’s day-to-day op­er­a­tions in the area and strength­en­ing its pres­ence across the High­lands, Mo­ray, Western Isles and North­ern Isles.

Tessa Bar­rett, head of ser­vice de­liv­ery at the Mac­u­lar So­ci­ety, which has more than 22,000 mem­bers, has wel­comed John on board, say­ing his past ex­pe­ri­ences would be a mas­sive ben­e­fit for the char­ity and its thou­sands of mem­bers.

She added: “John’s skills and knowl­edge will help us im­mensely and we’re de­lighted to be wel­com­ing him to the team.

“This year marks our 30th an­niver­sary and it has never been more im­por­tant for us to raise aware­ness of mac­u­lar dis­ease, what causes it, and the widerang­ing sup­port that’s avail­able to peo­ple liv­ing with dif­fer­ent mac­u­lar con­di­tions.

“It is also vi­tal we con­tinue to fi­nance mac­u­lar re­search and en­cour­age oth­ers in the sight loss sec­tor to fol­low our lead.

“Thanks to the ex­ten­sive stud­ies which have al­ready been con­ducted, we have a much greater un­der­stand­ing of the dis­ease than ever be­fore.

“We need to keep build­ing on that knowl­edge and we’ll con­tinue to do so un­til a cure for all mac­u­lar con­di­tions has been suc­cess­fully found.”

The mac­ula is part of the retina at the back of the eye. It is only about 5mm across but is re­spon­si­ble for all of our cen­tral vi­sion, most of our colour vi­sion and fine de­tail of what we see.

Ev­ery day, more than 200 peo­ple in the UK re­ceive the news that they have mac­u­lar dis­ease.

This can rob peo­ple of their in­de­pen­dence, leav­ing them un­able to drive, read or even recog­nise their fam­ily.

The char­ity helps peo­ple adapt to life with sight loss, re­gain their con­fi­dence and in­de­pen­dence, and take back con­trol of their lives.

“Help peo­ple to get the as­sis­tance they need to live their lives in­de­pen­dently”

John Furze is now a Mac­u­lar So­ci­ety re­gional man­ager

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