10 things you might not expect from my blind husband
Chris and I met in 2015. He had been completely blind since 2008.
1. He’s a great cook
After going blind he was offered a Braille or cookery course. He chose cookery. Learning Braille was a five year course and with all the tech available, Chris thought being able to cook was more important.
He cooks practically all of our meals.
2. His Guide Dog is a GSD called Bamber
Chris applied for a Guide Dog in 2017. He was matched with Bamber, an 18 month German Shepherd, later that year. People are often surprised to see a GSD Guide Dog. Only 7% of Guide Dogs here in the UK are GSDs. Most are Retrievers/Labradors.
Bamber has a big fan club! Wherever we go, everyone wants to come over to say hello!
3. He’s a Woodturner
Chris took up woodturning around 2013. He wanted a vampire stake. He’s a huge horror film fan. He spent around 600 hours listening to YouTube tutorials about woodturning. Once he had a picture in his head, he bought a lathe and turned his vampire stake.
4. He’s a full time professional Woodturner
He’s currently the UK’s only completely blind professional and accredited Woodturner. He passed the accreditation to become a Registered Professional Turner in 2018.
5. He’s an inspiration
We travel around the UK and Chris shares his story and gives public woodturning demonstrations. His mission is to inspire and motivate others - sighted and visually impaired - and show that it’s never the end, it’s just a new beginning.
6. He teaches others to woodturn
Chris has taught others who are completely blind to turn. He also teaches sighted people. In the past year he's been teaching teens with autism.
7. He's the most cheerful person I know
In all the time I've known him, he's always been upbeat. Despite the daily challenges of being blind, he always looks on the bright side. He gets on with life, pursues his passions, and won't let anything get in his way. He believes he is capable of anything.
8. He has never seen me
When we met, Chris had already been blind for several years. What I found compelling was his ability to see me from the inside out. He got me in a way that no-one else ever had. That's never changed. We're a team, we laugh a lot, and know what each other is thinking.
9. He doesn’t want his eyesight back
This is something people find hard to believe. But Chris went through 4 years of anxiety, nausea, hallucinations, muscle spasms, suicidal thoughts as he came to terms with going blind, and adjusting to a new life. He’s happy now living as a blind man.
10. He was meant to be a blind Woodturner
Before he lost his sight Chris was a biker, a student pilot and worked in auto body repair. If he hadn't gone blind, he wouldn't be a Woodturner, and we wouldn't have met. While the initial phase of losing his sight and coming to terms with that was traumatic, he has a new life now. He firmly believes that being a blind Woodturner is who he was always meant to be.