SINCE opening its doors in the First World War, a blind centre in Warrington has welcomed people from all walks of life to benefit from the help, services, and amazing community it has built.

The caring team of workers and volunteers at Warrington VIP in Fairfield came together with all their cherished members to celebrate the centre’s 100th anniversary this month.

Plenty of ‘smiles, laughter and chatter’ could be heard throughout the event, which was hosted at the centre, based on Fairfield Street, on Wednesday, May 10.

The ‘fantastic’ celebration began with a special video created by Adrian Horn from 360 tours, which celebrated the centre throughout its impressive 10 decades.

Warrington Guardian: A photo taken in 1959 of Warrington VIP membersA photo taken in 1959 of Warrington VIP members (Image: Supplied)

Members of Warrington VIP, many whom visit the centre weekly, were treated to afternoon tea, provided by local barista, Bap Fusion.

Live music was provided by All Things Swing band who sang renditions of the best hits from the 40s, with many members getting up for dance.

This was followed by an uplifting performance from members of the Creating Adventures charity, who sang S Club hit Reach for The Stars.

A raffle was put on with some incredible prizes donated by supporters of VIP and generous locals which included a TV, a bottle of champagne, a meal for two at London Bridge pub and much more.

The centre and its volunteers provide a second home for its members to relax and enjoy the company of others for two afternoons every week.

All members have visual impairments and can find solace and support within the centre’s community.

Many of its elderly members see the centre as a lifeline and the faces that greet them each week can be the only conversation and warm presence they feel.

Warrington Guardian: Warrington VIP centre cook hot meals for all their members when they pay their weekly afternoon visits before sitting down to enjoy some entertainmentWarrington VIP centre cook hot meals for all their members when they pay their weekly afternoon visits before sitting down to enjoy some entertainment (Image: Supplied)

Volunteers go and collect the members and drive them to the centre where they each enjoy a hot freshly cooked inhouse meal before enjoying entertainment and bingo.

But Warrington VIP also provides a home visiting service for members who are not able to attend the centre but would still like to benefit from their important services, with centre employees happy to run errands or do a food shop for the members prior to their hourly visits. 

Vicky James Deputy Chief Officer spoke of the momentous anniversary of the centre.

“100 years is an incredible milestone that we are very proud to be celebrating.

“Rex Furness set up Warrington Blind Society following an industrial accident in 1922 that left him blind.

"Rex quickly realised that there was no support for blind people including those returning from world war 1 with facial injuries.

“Rex set about promoting the welfare of blind people, and so on January 23, 1923, The Warrington District Society for the Blind was founded.

“Whilst VIP has changed over the years, our ultimate aim remains the same as in 1923 and that is to promote the welfare of visually impaired people.

“We very much appreciate all who support our small charity including the VIP volunteers and it is a privileged to support our VIP's."