A VISUALLY-impaired cricketer from Taunton is a national charity’s calendar star for July.

Michael Church, 42, appears in Action for Blind People’s (Action) calendar, as one of 27,000 people with sight loss to have benefitted from the charity over the past year.

The calendar is an adapted version of the charity’s annual review, packed full of statistics about its services and successes.

Michael features as an inspirational case study for July, telling his story about adapting to sight loss, resulting in him becoming a regular in Somerset’s visually-impaired cricket team.

With a passion for sport, Michael began to feel isolated and depressed as his vision deteriorated.

His case study explains how attending Action for Blind People’s Living with Sight Loss course helped to get his life back on track.

In the calendar, Michael is quoted talking about his experience on the course.

“Without Action I don’t know where I would be”, he says. “The Living with Sight Loss course has given me access to like-minded people going through the same things as me.

Michael says: “If I had to pass on any advice to those losing their sight I would say, don’t let it beat you. There is always light at the end of the tunnel – cricket is my passion and is such an important part of my life.”

The community-based six-week programme provided Michael and other participants with information, advice, guidance and practical skills for people diagnosed as losing their sight.

Organised in partnership with a number of local and national specialist organisations, the on-going courses are designed to increase confidence, with modules addressing emotional aspects of sight loss.

There are sessions on coping mechanisms, problem solving, assistive technology and information and advice on local and national support services.

Peer-to-peer support helps participants to achieve a range of personal goals through shared experiences.

Since completing the course, Michael’s confidence and independence are returning.

As well as playing cricket, he is able to go shopping on his own, pays for his own things, and keeps fit at a local gym.