Carol was recently interviewed by Sean Styles on BBC Radio Merseyside. They talked about Simon, the jewellery that Paul makes, and the new exhibition in Birkenhead Park.
In case you missed it, we’ve got two versions of the clip available for you, depending on how much bandwidth you have to burn.
Video version with captions
The video has open captions plus a closed caption file, but if you’re after a regular transcription of the audio, here you go.
Now, the Eye Fund is a local charity which aims to provide much needed support to people who are losing their sight due to degenerative diseases.
Now, it was set up by Carol and Paul Sherry, whose son, Simon, started to lose his sight in his thirties.
Now, Simon sadly died in 2005, but an exhibition of some of his artwork has gone on display today over in Birkenhead Park.
Now, I went over to meet Carol and she told me more about how the Eye Fund got started in the first place.
It was started from here, from home, after we lost our son, Simon, in 2005.
And we thought we can either sit and cry, or we can do something positive. So, we chose a positive option.
And because Simon was a graphic designer, then we decided to use his designs and raise some money and help other people who were losing their vision.
So, Simon’s sight deteriorated over the years. He was a relatively young man.
He was, he was 38 when he died. Yes. And he lost one eye when he was 8 years old, in an accident.
And then, when he was about, say, 30, I think… his other eye started giving him trouble.
And when he eventually went to the hospital, he had a retinal disorder; degenerative retinal disorder.
And he was going to lose his vision.
My word. Was that as a result of him losing the eye, originally?
They don’t know. They say it could have been possible, but they weren’t sure.
Now, he made some—I’m going to use the word stunning, because they are absolutely stunning—designs which are going to go on display.
Are they for sale?
They are. They’re going to go in the exhibition in Birkenhead Park next week.
So hopefully all the money we raise from that will go into the Eye Fund.
I mean, they are really outstanding and they’re very colourful; they’re based loosely round the eye, aren’t they?
There’s an eye on every one of them.
Well, I think that was the whole reason for it.
I think it was Simon’s way of working it out of his system, because he couldn’t get his head around the fact that he wasn’t going to have any sight.
And he was a very independent, active young man. He was like… mountaineering and walking in the hills, always on his own; lived in Devon.
And he just couldn’t face the future.
So this… he created these designs—they’re computer generated designs are they?
They are, yes. He was a computer… graphic designer, right, yeah.
So did you know he was making these at the time?
We knew he’d done a few. And then after he died, and Paul and his brothers went to sort his little house out in Devon, they found hundreds in his computer.
What a great idea to use them in this way, to keep his memory alive, of course, and to raise money for the funds.
Well, he’s here with us all the time.
I’m sure he is.
Yes, he is.
So now you’re not only just showing Simon’s graphics, you’ve also made some jewellery using the graphics in the pictures, haven’t you?
We have. We started out with a friend making them for us and then when she was unable to carry on, then ever resourceful, Paul
— nice —
He now does them with me being a very minor assistant.
You’re very modest Carol, I’m sure you put more input into the jewellery.
Don’t you believe it.
These are excellent aren’t they.
Paul frames the pictures and he makes the cards.
We sell cards as well and all I do is put them in the envelopes and put the price on them and stuff like that.
Paul does the rest.
Is this the first time you’ve done this one?
No, third time. Third time? Yeah.
What we’re doing as well this time and we’ve done before is we’ve asked somebody else to come in to our exhibition with us to provide a different aspect.
So this time we’re having the pottery from a local group called Wirral Potters and they’re all using one of Simon’s designs and they’re creating their pottery from those.
So it’ll give Simon’s talent a new sort of perspective. Really? Isn’t that great?
Yeah, it’s fabulous.
And if you come you’ll be able to see Paul and I say hello because we’ll be there every day.
It’s going to be opened by Mike McCartney?
It is, yes.
Mike’s coming on Sunday to open it.
It’s a private opening with invitations only.
Do you get a lot of people coming along to speak to you about someone who might be worried about themselves or a family member of themselves.
A lot, yeah, you find an awful lot of people who have eye problems and unfortunately we can’t answer them, but they think that because we’re doing this and our son was sort of struck by the same affliction that we can say what’s going to happen to theirs, but we’re always a sympathetic ear and we like to sort of have a little chat.
What we like to do, as well as we like to provide help for individuals because when Simon was alive and losing his sight he had Paul McCartney to help him.
And Paul was very generous with Simon.
He used to send his car to take him to the hospital and he sent him on the trip around the world, bought him his computer and we like to do that — obviously not on such a big scale — for other people who haven’t got a Paul.
And this time we’re presenting an iPad to a little fellow called Jack who’s got the same sort of problems as Simon.
When I was talking to his mum, she’s going through exactly the same things that we went through but her boy is only eleven years old and so she and I have said, you just talk to me anytime because we can share the same feelings.
I’m sure there must be a great inspiration from speaking to the likes of yourself, Carol.
Well, it’s good to share, isn’t it? Because she said nobody understands… and they don’t, because the boys don’t want to speak to their mum, because they don’t want to worry us.
It’s a little lonely life for them sometimes.
This little boy doesn’t want anybody to know that is sight bad, so he won’t have a stick and Simon wouldn’t have a stick.
So we’re able to give Jack an iPad with all sorts of adaptions so that it will help him in school because he was falling behind a bit with his lessons.
And his teacher can have the keyboard at the back of the class and she can actually help him on the keyboard while he’s working, so it’s fine.
So have you got a goal in mind with the Eye Fund as far as money’s concerned, or are you just going to carry on and on?
We’re going to carry on forever as long as we can.
Our main aim was to provide counseling for people like Simon, because when they told him there was no cure and no treatment for his condition, they just virtually said, “go and see the RNIB”.
So what we wanted to do was to provide help for people like him.
So we’ve given money to the Royal … well, St. Paul’s in the Royal, and the Wirral Society of the Blind and Partially Sighted.
And we have two counsellors now, two Eye Fund counsellors who can help people like Simon who were diagnosed with failing vision.
So we can come along to Birkenhead Park?
Between the 29th of April and the 6th of May.
Yes, any day between 10 a.m.
And 4 p.m.
Here’s to the future, Carol.
Thank you very, very much.
Yes, here is to the future. And there you go.
It’s Carol, and Paul Sherry was there, the husband as well, and he’s very busy making jewellery, making rings, key rings, you name it.
Simon’s designs are there to be had.
They’re over there at Birkenhead Park today.
Some fantastic prints and I mean, they’re absolutely stunning.
The wonderful, wonderful work.
If that’s your thing and you fancy going over to have a look today, Birkenhead Park until Monday the 6th of May, between 10 and 4.
So, if you’re out and about today, pop over and have a look.
Well worth it.