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Why we left a gift in our Will

With over a third of our work being made possible by people leaving a gift in their Will, legacies are vital to RNIB, and we are grateful to everyone who supports us in this way. Find out more about why Paul, Jim and Mary have decided to leave a life changing gift in their Wills, and we hope you will join them in helping RNIB provide a brighter future for people with sight loss.

Paul’s story

Paul was born partially sighted and was registered blind in 2008.

“I’ve always been visually impaired. However, as my sight deteriorated, lighting and screen readers have become more essential.

RNIB is important because it gives people with sight loss a voice, a sense of belonging and the comfort that someone cares. RNIB have helped me with information, advice, a grant for a new Daisy player and daily living aids.

I’d like to be treated equally and no longer for sight loss to be a forgotten disability. By leaving a gift in your Will to RNIB you really can make a difference. I hope my legacy gift will continue to give people with sight loss a voice and their independence.”

A person leaning against some railings smiling at the camera with a lake in the background on sunny day.

Paul leaning against a set of railings in front of a lake smiling at the camera.

Mandy's Story

Costa Panayiotou had glaucoma for many years. He started to develop macular degeneration in his 50s and later 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."

Mandy with her father, Costa.

Mandy with her father, Costa

Hazel's story

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.

She told us: “My mother’s main pastimes were reading and researching. Being the type of person who liked to have 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’; 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 and Janet's story

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, but it's also to the families, the spouse, the partners, to the children. It is a big organisation, but it's got a heart of gold”.

Jim and Mary's story

Jim and Mary Callaghan are long-time supporters of RNIB and used our services when their daughter was left without sight in one eye following a brain aneurism. Finding out more first-hand about our services for blind and partially sighted people inspired them to leave us a gift in their Will.

When Jim was asked why they’d made this choice, 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"."

Jim and Mary sitting on a sofa at a coffee table with a Will advisor.

Jim and Mary sitting on a sofa at a coffee table with a Will advisor.

Elizabeth's story

After seeing the enjoyment her father got from RNIB’s Talking Books, Elizabeth wanted to make sure her Will helped others with sight loss, so they can keep learning and loving reading.

“My father was diagnosed with macular degeneration, which resulted in him becoming almost blind before he died,” she said. “He gained pleasure from RNIB’s Talking Books and the talking newspaper. He also used various aids purchased from RNIB to help him in his everyday tasks.”

Elizabeth is so grateful that her father could still live a reasonably independent life with his eye condition. “It’s hard to imagine life without sight and the challenges you would have to face,” she explained.

That’s why Elizabeth is leaving a gift to RNIB in her Will, as a wonderful way to pay tribute to her dad.

“I hope my legacy gift will make life better for many people with sight loss.”

Elizabeth smiling at the camera while outside

Elizabeth smiling at the camera while outside

Find out more

If you’ve been inspired to find out more by these stories you can download or request your copy of our guide to making and updating your Will.

You can also contact our friendly team for any further information or, if you’ve decided to leave a gift and would like to let us know, please do get in touch so we can say thank you and keep you up to date on the difference gifts in Wills are making to our work.

We are also always delighted to hear from people who are happy to share their story to inspire others and we’re just a phone call or email away if you’d like to get in touch.