OPEN Sight Hampshire announced NHS veteran Jane Brooks as its new chair of trustees.

Succeeding Sue Walker after seven and a half years of service, Ms Brooks comes equipped with extensive knowledge from her career in the NHS and her trusteeship with other charities.

In addition, she has personal experience living with a visually impaired family member.

The charity, established over a century ago, helps those with various sight conditions. Services include community Sight Hubs, which offer technology support and independent living advice, plus eye health awareness and sight loss prevention schemes in schools.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Jane Brooks and Chris Dixon, Open Sight HampshireJane Brooks and Chris Dixon, Open Sight Hampshire (Image: Supplied)

Ms Walker, who has dedicated nearly 10 years to Open Sight, has spearheaded new services and fundraisers. However, she will remain attached to the charity following this transition.

This news follows the recent appointment of Chris Dixon as the new chief executive.

Ms Brooks, who lives in North Hampshire, said: "My mum was visually impaired from a very young age, eventually losing her sight completely, so I know how hard it can be to live with a visual impairment, and how accessible community support and helpful technology can provide a life-line to individuals and their families.

"I’m delighted to be able to work with Open Sight Hampshire and support the amazing work of our dedicated staff and volunteers.

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"It’s an exciting time for the charity. There’s a lot more we could do better, to support the visually impaired community in Hampshire and I am proud to help drive this important work forward.

"On behalf of the trustees, I’d like to thank Sue for her years of service to Open Sight Hampshire. Her passion and dedication have helped so many people, especially through the pandemic and I wish her the very best for the future."

Ms Walker said: "It’s been an immense privilege to be involved in such a wonderful charity that has made a positive impact on people’s lives.

"I’ve had so many highlights, from securing a legacy donation that established the sustainability of the charity; to navigating the pandemic when we refused to furlough staff and instead adapted our offering to ensure our visually impaired clients still had a place to turn.

"I wish Jane, the board, and Open Sight team a successful future."