Tess Lewsey

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I like a challenge! 
I like to prove that I can achieve things, despite the many challenges I face with life.

Despite being visually impaired I have:

Driven a car
(click picture to see video)

Cycled through the cobbled streets of Brugge
Appeared live on National TV (BBC2)

Parachuted out of a plane
(click picture to see gallery)

Climbed rocks and abseiled
(click picture to see video)

Flown a vintage Tiger Moth
(click picture to see gallery)

Present regular radio shows
(click picture to see gallery)


On this page, I share some of what I have achieved.

Driving A Car

In 2018, I drove a car for the first time at Turweston Aerodrome near Brackley, Northamptonshire. This was courtesy of Mark Prewett from Driving Ambition
(13 March 2020)




Radio Caroline

My latest "adventure" was to visit the Ross Revenge, the home of Radio Caroline.

On the day of the visit, Caroline was broadcasting as Radio Caroline North, in conjunction with Manx Radio. It was also broadcasting on medium wave (648Khz) as part of the test transmissions for the new Caroline community service for North Essex and South Suffolk.

The Ross Revenge is moored on the River Blackwater, near Bradwell, and over the weekend that I visited it (25/26 November 2017), DJs Johnny Lewis and Ray Clark, amongst others, were on board.
(1 December 2017)

Sponsored rock climb and abseil.

On Friday 8 September I completed a sponsored rock climb and abseil. I was raising money for the Mark Henry Archer Tribute Fund - a cause that supports Bloodwise - a charity that raises awareness and funds to beat Blood Cancer.

Click here to support this charity and sponsor my achievement.


More about Tess Lewsey
I have lived with a visual impairment all my life.

I was born with a fairly rare eye condition (Microphthalmia Coloboma). I'm unable to focus on something for too long. The more I try to focus, the more the eye wobbles. This is known as nystagnus.

As a child I was unable to join clubs such as the Brownies, the excuse given that I might get knocked over or hurt myself. There was no one more boisterous than me as a child! I eventually went to a mainstream school with a separate class for visually impaired.

Here I thrived.  I was taught how to read using a CCTV. I was so excited to be able to read small print books like other kids. I was then issued with special reading/writing glasses, magnifiers and a telescope to help me with my work in class.

In 1982 I moved up to secondary school. Whilst they had a unit for blind and visually impaired, I didn't get the help I needed and I left school with very few qualifications.

It seemed their attitude was for me to concentrate on my typing and get a job stuck at the back of some office some where, like I was something to be ashamed of, to be hidden away from the rest of the world.

I will always remember my visit to the careers advisor at school. I hardly had time to sit down and I was TOLD what I was going to do and then dismissed, without being asked a single question.  I was gutted!

I felt that as a child I was held back. At secondary school I was labelled a problem child with an attitude problem as I spoke my mind. But I wasn't going to be patted on the head and sit in the corner and forgotten about.

It took 4 years at college doing what I felt were useless courses before I was finally given the chance to do the course I longed for. Nursery nursing. For the first time in my life I was getting distinctions for my work, because I was given the chance to show what I could do.

In fact with my first review with my tutor she did admit that she and other tutors had thought that I'd fail. But she was pleased I'd proved her wrong. And she apologised for her thoughts.

I didn't come to accept my disability until I was in my early 30s.  I had always tried to hide it and make out there was nothing wrong with me as to admit I had a disability meant I was not a worthy person.

In 2002 I had a fast growing cataract in my right eye. My good eye.  I was faced with losing my eye sight as to start with the doctors didn't think there was anything I they could do for me. I could see my whole life slipping away from me. Everything I loved and wanted to do, such as my childcare work, my photography and my radio.

How could you do all those if you were blind?

Fortunately I was referred to a doctor who did manage to operate to restore my sight. I have since looked at that time as a blessing rather than the curse I had thought it was. During my recovery I got my life into perspective.

Today I'm in a loving relationship with a wonderful son. I am able to continue and develop my broadcasting work. And I have the confidence to do the things I could only have dreamt about in my younger years.


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No images, audio, text or documents may be reproduced in any form without written permission of Tess Lewsey.