Blind Burnley schoolgirl (12) on a crusade to raise awareness of what life is like without her sight

An inspirational Burnley schoolgirl is on a crusade to raise awareness of what life is like to be visually impaired.

By Susan Plunkett
Friday, 28th January 2022, 3:45 pm

And Emily Whittle is determined to show nothing will stop her doing what she wants in life.

Year 8 Emily is at Blessed Trinity Roman Catholic College and was registered blind after contracting meningitis when she was just two weeks old.

Her brother Ryan and sister Jasmine are at Blessed Trinity and her big aim is to help her community understand her blindness and show it's not a limitation to her.

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Determined and brave Burnley student Emily Whittle is on a mission to raise awareness of what life is like for people with a visual impairment

“I can see flashes of colours but that’s it really,” said Emily (12) “Nothing will stop me. I wanted to come to a mainstream school where my brother and sister are and I will try anything – sewing, judo, weights, the treadmill, everything.

“When I first came to school in year seven I made a presentation about being blind and what life is like for me. I just wanted everyone to understand what it’s like being blind and how they can help me.

“I talked about when people see me on the corridor to not just just say hello but say their name also.

“I talked about the importance of walking on the left and also how I use my equipment, how I walk with my cane.

“My big aim is to walk to and from school with my sister and brother but I need to get used to the route first."

Emily hosted a party at her schoolfor the visually impaired in Lancashire over Christmas, with 20 children and their teaching assistants attending.

She said: “I loved that. We played party games and Tesco and Marks and Spencer’s gave us food to make it a success.”

Emily is on the school council to make sure the school is doing all it can to help people like her and she has started a braille club for year eights in a bid to encourage other pupils to learn the skill.

Emily’s teaching assistant Sally Harker has learnt braille so she can help Emily even more.

Sally said: "“Emily is amazing, nothing will stop her, she will try anything and I admire her so much.

"She is good in every subject and is a pleasure to be with.”