When partially-sighted Melton man Ken Eggleston had to stop driving about four years ago he never dreamt he’d get the chance to get back behind the wheel - let alone enjoy an unforgettable experience of driving a 1960s Ford Mustang.
Ken (68) suffers from dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The condition causes a gradual deterioration of the macula, usually over many years, as the retinal cells die off and are not regenerated.
He became aware of the Macular Society - the national charity for anyone affected by central vision loss which funds clinical research, provides free information and support to sufferers and their families and raises awareness. The charity relies on donations and gifts from wills to deliver services and search for a cure for macular disease.
After joining the society on a free six-month trial membership Ken was sent a magazine which mentioned a supercar experience day being organised by the charity to help raise awareness of Macular Week which began on Monday (June 27).
Ken put himself forward and was one of the lucky people chosen to take part in the supercar day held at Upper Heyford Airfield in Oxfordshire on Monday.
They were given the freedom of the quarter-of-a-mile long track to put the supercars through their paces on the circuit, accompanied by an instructor with dual controls.
Ken had the enviable option of driving a Lamborghini, Maserati or an Aston Martin but it was a 60s Ford Mustang GT500 that took his fancy.
Ken, an advanced driver who’d driven over a million miles in his 50 plus years behind the wheel, said: “In my day I had three Capris and the Mustang is the ‘granddaddy’ of Capris. I had a blast driving it. It was a fantastic experience and an amazing opportunity to do something I never thought I’d be able to do again. It that happened to be the last time I drove a car at least it was memorable!”
Ken, who was chauffeured to the airfield by his friend, Barry Cragg, discovered he had a problem with his sight in about 1994. He’s been told his AMD is untreatable and will worsen but that he won’t go blind.
He praised the ‘cracking’ work of the Macular Society as well the sight loss charity Vista for the help and support they offer.
He said: “I’m very grateful for the help and support given by lots of generous volunteers and I felt it was my duty to give something back by helping to raise awareness of the Macular Society and Macular Week.
“There are lots of tips and tricks you can learn to cope with AMD. My iPad is my lifeline. I can’t read the Melton Times in print but I can read it on the iPad.”
Ken, who is a long-time member of the Melton Belvoir Rotary Club, added: “My disability is something I can cope with, with the wonderful support from my wife, Ros. There are people in far worse positions than me but help is available.”
For more about the Macular Society, including the work it does and how you donate, visit https://www.macularsociety.org
For more about Vista visit http://www.vistablind.org.uk/