Introducing our volunteer Ambassadors

Here at Retina UK we have some truly amazing volunteer Ambassadors, who help to spread the word about our important work and share their inspirational stories.

Steve Bate MBE

Steve Bate MBE

Paralympian

Steve is a Paralympian who was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in 2011, and won two gold medals and one bronze medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, smashing the world record in the 4km pursuit. In addition to these sporting achievements, Steve has completed a number of remarkable challenges, including a solo ascent of El Capitan, a 3,000-foot-high climb in Yosemite in California. Despite his huge success, Steve considers himself a normal guy, and aims to inspire others living with sight loss to dream big. As Steve says: “Almost anything can be achieved if you are willing to work hard.”

https://www.stevebatembe.com

Victoria Claire

Victoria Claire

Professional sculptor and public speaker

Victoria was diagnosed with RP at the age of 19, and registered blind at the age of 29, but has not let her visual impairment hold her back. A professional sculptor who has exhibited throughout the UK, as well as a keen surfer, skateboarder and musician, Victoria has made it her mission to share her story and support others living with similar conditions. She advocates a limitless life, maintaining that anything is possible with acceptance, adaptivity and accessibility. She was honoured to be offered the Ambassador role with the charity: “I first came into contact with Retina UK many years ago, when my parents encouraged me to seek out more information about my condition. Now that the charity is poised to increase the level of support it provides to people throughout the UK, it seems the perfect time for me to come on board and share my experiences.”

http://victoriaclairesculpture.com

Seema Flower

Seema Flower

Visual awareness and disabilities consultant

Seema aims to inspire people to achieve their full potential through her training, coaching and counselling. She lost her sight at an early age, but has not let this stop her building a successful chain of businesses and a thriving property portfolio. She often features in the media discussing issues affecting disabled people and entrepreneurial challenges. Seema, who is married with a ten year old daughter, said: “I have not let my sight stop me doing what I want, and I do not see obstacles as obstacles, but as opportunities. Having a disability, whether it is being blind, or any other disability should not hold you back in life or when seeking employment.”

Bhavini Makwana

Bhavini Makwana

Activities coordinator at East London Vision

Bhavini (and her lovely guide dog Colin!) has been involved with Retina UK for many years, and her work with us enables her to achieve her aim of empowering others living with similar conditions to her own. She organises a large number of events throughout the year, bringing people together to share their experiences and learn new skills. Bhavini has found the support Retina UK provided to her in the past invaluable: “The charity helped me find my confidence within myself and made me realise you can still achieve your ambitions even with RP.”