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Singing to save sight

Pam_IsabellVision impaired soprano singer Pamela Reynolds will be performing a charity concert on 31 October to raise money for the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA).

Pamela recently volunteered with CERA as part of the Bionic Eye project, where she was helping to develop tests for people with very low vision. “It’s so important to support the research. If my contribution helps one person, it will be worthwhile,” said Pamela.

Now the 80-year-old Vermont resident will help raise much-needed funds for eye research by performing a concert at Bernie’s Music World in Ringwood. Music was a big part of Pamela’s childhood, but it wasn’t until she started singing at age 20 that she discovered her true passion was singing.

“If I keep taking care of my voice, I hope I will have many years of singing left in me,” she says.

Pamela’s ‘right-hand man’ is accompanist Kenneth Briggs, who she met through the Clayton Choral Society. “We’reboth fond of music and have become close friends,” explains Pamela.

Pamela has been vision impaired all her life, but never let her disability hold her back. She was the first blind short-hand typist in her native New Zealand, and travelled extensively with her late husband Tom, whom she met on holidays in 1983.

A dedicated charity worker, Pamela was awarded the British Empire Medal for her services to music and the community in 1973. In Melbourne, she has raised $25,000 for the Alfred Hospital Cancer Fund in memory of her late husband, through concerts and a Braille reading marathon, where she read aloud for 12 hours in a local shopping centre.

Despite her many talents and achievements, Pamela admits it hasn’t always been easy. “Growing up, I felt on the outer – a lot of people didn’t know how to deal with a person with a disability and I felt like they wanted to hide me away,” she says.

“I want to show people that we (vision impaired people) are still perfectly normal. We enjoy chatting to people and we have strengths and weaknesses, like anyone else. I might be good at singing but hopeless at something else!” laughs Pamela.

Pamela’s concert is at 7.30pm on Thursday 31 October at Bernies Music Land, 381 Canterbury Rd, Ringwood. Tickets are $10 and available at the store or by calling (03) 9872 5122. Please book early as places are limited. All money raised will go to the Centre for Eye Research Australia.