David Scott Blackhall

David Scott Blackhall

David Scott Blackhall was a radio personality, author and poet. He was born in Cirencester, Gloucestershire on 9 May, 1910 and died on 14 September, 1981 aged 71.

After an accident in his teens, in which he sustained a detached retina, he lost the sight in his left eye. He underwent an operation in about 1943 to restore some sight in this eye, but the operation was unsuccessful. The eyesight in his rght eye began to seriously deteriorate in the 50s and an operation for cataracts was unsuccessful, leaving him totally blind.

In 1961 his autobiography This House Had Windows was published. David Scott Blackhall Award for services to the blind by BBC's "In Touch" radio programme was named in his honour.

In 1969 during one of his radio editions of "In Touch", he commented on a group of blind people who had climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, and went on to say that Britain's highest mountain was Ben Nevis - if anyone was interested. It seemed they were, as he had a flood of letters from interested listeners who wished to make that climb. With the help of local people in the town of Fort William, a weekend was arranged at the Milton Hotel - appropriately Milton was a blind poet - and a group of 15 visually impaired men and women with local sighted companions and David at the helm, made the climb, arriving at the summit to the sound of the bagpipes, played by one of the group. It was a proud moment for him and the start of the Milton Mountaineers, who went on to meet annually to climb more of Britain's and Ireland's highest peaks. One of David's poems, "Prayer", is still recited by the leader of the Mountaineers at each summit.

He had three daughters: Anne (b. 1936), (Leader of the Milton Mountaineers from 1992 to 2005); Jane (b. 1940) and Susan (b. 1949) and was married to Edna (née Westwood).

Quotes: "It is the Testament of a Christian who is also a Stoic; the Credo of a natural and kindly humorist whose wit has not been blunted by blindness."

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