Blind 21-year-old from Rastrick wins award on route to teaching physical education

Well done: At the presentation of the John Benson Award at the Halifax Society for the Blind are (left to right), trustee Jim McAndrew; trustee and son of John Benson, Peter Benson; Christopher Scrivener and office manager Eileen Holmes
Well done: At the presentation of the John Benson Award at the Halifax Society for the Blind are (left to right), trustee Jim McAndrew; trustee and son of John Benson, Peter Benson; Christopher Scrivener and office manager Eileen Holmes

A YOUNG man who is courageously overcoming his blindness is the first winner of the John Benson Award.

Christopher Scrivener, 21, had 20/20 vision until he started losing his sight aged 14 due to a genetic condition.

He is registered blind but that hasn’t stopped him striving to teach physical education.

The Halifax Society for the Blind award is in memory of John Benson who died last year and is targeted at a blind or partially sighted young person.

He was a trustee and, along with family members, had a long association with the society.

Christopher, of Woodhouse Lane, Rastrick, said he would spend the £500 award on training courses.

His condition - leber optic atrophy - affects mainly young males and is passed down through females.

Christopher said adapting to blindness had obviously brought its difficulties including disrupting his GCSE studies.

But, he pursued his interests and attended college courses.

Currently, he is studying for a foundation degree in health related exercise and fitness at Bradford College.

It includes work experience at Huddersfield Sports College and hopes it will lead to a full-time job.

“If you are good at communicating you do not need to see - people will give you the answers,” he said.

“I have wanted to be the main person and not be in a supporting role. Being blind is frustrating at times but you have to find your own way through.”

His parents Richard and Sarah are obviously proud of his achievements.

“He is doing what he always wanted to do,” said Richard.

“He is very single-minded which is what you have to be to get over the barriers that are there.”

The award was presented by society trustee Peter Benson, son of John, who said Christopher had displayed great effort in moving towards his goal.