The New Year’s honours list includes a young man who moved to Villa Martin permanently 18 months ago, but still runs a charity in Bristol – England.
He is Daniel Edward Gallimore, now a resident in Villa Martin, and he has been awarded the BEM:
Daniel still runs a charity in England called ‘Have Stick Will Travel,’ that raises money to buy, mainly electronic gadgets, that can enhance the lives of blind and poorly sighted people.
He lost his own sight when he was 21, having gone to the aid of a young man of 18 who was being attacked by three older thugs by a Lloyds Bank cash point in Bristol. The original victim got off lightly with just a broken nose and bruises whilst Daniel was several month in Frenchay Hospital in a coma, waking up to discover he had lost his sight.
For this original act of bravery Dan received the Police Waley-Cohen award for bravery. This was followed in 1998 by the young achievers award and a visit to the Palace to meet the Queen and the majority of the Royal Family.
He then became the first Bravery Award winner at the Pride of Britain Awards in 1999, where he met some fascinating people. He has also been to two Palace Garden Parties.
When Dan realised how expensive the items were that were needed to make life more normal for unsighted people he then decided to set up a charity – ‘Have Stick Will Travel’. His mother Sylvia and brother Adam are trustees and help with fund raising. Dan also gives talks on how to interact with blind people, going into schools, offices, shops, anywhere he is asked. He especially likes talking in schools to show children that losing your sight is not the end of the world, though it feels like it initially.
He also likes youngsters to understand how a moment of madness, brought on by alcohol or drugs, can ruin a person’s life, explaining how he lost his sight.
For many years, the charity also organised long weekends away, combining sighted members of the Somerville Club in Bishopston, Bristol, with the poorly sighted members of Avon Sports and Leisure for the Visually Impaired.
Originally these trips took them to Brussels, Ghent, Paris, Amsterdam, Bruges and Germany, amongst other easily assessable coach destinations.
Unfortunately, over the last 10 years, Health and Safety restrictions and general costs have changed the destinations to those in England, now usually Paignton or Torquay.
Money has been raised by many means, the usual raffles, dances, dinners, Elvis Evenings, Poetry readings, you name it, he has tried it.
Dan has also done personal fundraising by abseiling down the Avon Gorge in Bristol and the Evening Post building, off road driving, flying a glider, scuba diving and other slightly risky things.
Coronavirus has made fundraising difficult in 2020 so Dan has changed directions and now, with the help of Amazon self-publishing, he is having books published to raise money for his charity. Every penny raised through the sale of the books goes there.
The first book came out a few months ago and was called ‘The Penultimate Sacrifice,’ a re-work of a book he had published earlier about reoccurring dreams. The second book is original Fairy Tales called ‘The Unseeing Prince and other Fairy Tales’ for which he was assisted by his mother Sylvia. Both books are available from Amazon in book form and on E. books. There are many others in the pipe line including amusing stories and both serious and humorous poetry.
Daniel’s mother is the author Sylvie Gallimore, who, along with her husband, is also a resident of Villamartin. Her books include, The Wind Beneath My Wings (about Daniel’s ordeal) and two novels The Poet’s Trap and The Southerly Curse, as well as several poetry books and a third novel due out in the new year.