It was a personal interest in sight loss and respect for the work done by the NCBI , National Council for the Blind of Ireland ,that led Limerick based William Priestly to first explore volunteering for the charity.
The 38 year old who runs the West End Youth Centre in the city says “I approached the NCBI and asked them if they had openings for volunteers in the field of technology”.
He was paired with Tony Geary who lost his sight in his early sixties.
“Tony was trying to get to grips with technology so for the first few months it was a question of trial and error as we worked it out. We’d meet regularly in the NCBI offices in Limerick city and spend an hour going through the essentials that Tony needed. We got on well and so the whole experience of learning was easy then for Tony”
Seven years on William still meets Tony as he says “Technology is evolving so rapidly, there is always something to update Tony on “.
Added to this of course is the natural friendship that has developed between Teacher and student.
“Yes, that’s an added bonus. We discuss a lot of things from families to friends to sport . We might meet for a coffee or a bite to eat and I enjoy his company. We have become good oul pals”.
William urges people who may have a bit of time on their hands to get involved “If you have an hour to spare think about volunteering with the NCBI, you won’t regret it. It is minimal effort, it’s only an hour a week, you could even do it on your lunch break. It’s an easy way to make a real practical difference”.
For his part Tony, a former Chef who lives in Doon, Co Limerick describes William as “Marvellous and a constant support to me. My son passed me on his I phone and William set it all up for me. He has taken away my fear of technology and now I look forward to surfing the net and being able to get information on things I need. I can also enjoy so much reading material and radio so it’s great, it has made me feel part of things again. William is a young guy, in his 30’s and he would really renew your faith in humanity. He is giving up his time and his knowledge for free and it is priceless to me”.