Costa Panayiotou had glaucoma for many years. He started to develop macular degeneration in his 50s and later on in life had two vein occlusions that left him with virtually no sight at all.
Costa sadly died in 2017. His daughter, Mandy, decided to leave a gift in her Will to RNIB. She explained: “As Dad’s sight deteriorated, he could no longer do the things he loved, which was such a blow to him.
I've left a gift to RNIB in my Will, in memory of my dad, who lived with sight loss for a number of years, but also so that RNIB can carry on helping as many people as possible in the future.
"With everything going on in the world at the moment, it’s a comfort that RNIB is there to offer help, advice and support for people so that they’re not alone."
Hazel’s mother volunteered for RNIB Talking Books for over 20 years, recording hundreds of books. As well as volunteering, she made regular donations to RNIB and kindly left a gift in her Will.
Hazel told us: “My mother’s main pastimes were reading and researching. Being the type of person who liked to have a full knowledge of things, with varied interests – she had around 3,000 books.
"I was always aware of the Talking Books service. I remember the big recording deck and microphone being a long-term fixture on the dining table.
"I think mum was proud of what she did for RNIB. Not that she was a particularly boastful person at all, but she was happy to be able to help people. They enjoyed her reading style so much that they would ask for her to read a book for them!
"One word that always came up in messages that people sent me after she had died was ‘selfless’; that she always thought about other people.
"I think blind and partially sighted people are always going to need the services that RNIB provides. My mum was a very moral person and this is what inspired her to help RNIB in the ways she did.”
Bryan has advanced glaucoma and remembers how RNIB helped him come to terms with his sight loss through counselling, as well as helping him get the benefits he was entitled to.
Bryan told us: “I started losing my sight about 15 years ago. The eye doctor said: “You've got glaucoma and it's quite advanced. You're going to lose your vision."
RNIB were the ones that saved me, basically. So leaving a legacy in your Will to a charity that you love, it's the right thing to do. If somebody helps you, you help them. It’s my hope that RNIB can continue to be there for others.
After discussing their Will with their children, Bryan and his wife Janet generously included a gift to RNIB. Janet said: “Before we made our Wills, we had a long talk with our family. That's the first thing, if you're thinking of leaving a legacy. The children actually said: 'We don't mind, that's good.'
"Then we contacted RNIB, and it was quite easy really. It is a lifeline. Not only to the person with sight loss, it's to the families, to the spouse, to the partners, to the children. It is a big organisation, but it's got a heart of gold”.
Jim and Mary Callaghan have been supporters of RNIB for years and had reason to use our services when their daughter was left without sight in one eye following a brain aneurism. Following an RNIB legacy reception, in which they heard more about our services for blind and partially sighted people, they were inspired to leave us a gift in their Will.
When Jim Callaghan was asked what prompted him and Mary to include a gift to RNIB, he told us: "I had a Will already but it was quite a simple one, as my circumstances were not nearly as complicated as they are now. I didn’t have grandchildren at that time and when you don’t have much, there’s not an awful lot you can leave behind! Not that I’ve got much now – but slightly more than nothing, so I want to make sure that it goes to the right people and organisations.
If you’re going to spend your money either in life or in death, you have to make sure it’s for a good cause and that can mean helping other people with their lives, giving your kids and your grandkids pocket money and saying ‘thank you’ to organisations that do so much for us, with such incredible spirit.
"I don’t feel that I’m the person being generous by leaving a legacy to RNIB, it’s RNIB that are generous because they give so much to society through the work they do. The least someone like me can do is say 'thank you'."