Findlay is right up to date with the news

Findlay says the reading gadget has contributed to giving him his independence back
Findlay says the reading gadget has contributed to giving him his independence back

A former Mearns Leader journalist with sight loss has regained his love of reading after receiving a specialist magnifying gadget from a vision impairment charity.

Findlay McQuarrie, 90, now living in Helensburgh, has no central vision as a result of eye condition macular degeneration.

His vision impairment has left him struggling to read newspapers, books and letters since his diagnosis three years ago, snatching away his life-long passion for reading news.

It was “devastating” for the retired journalist, who was a reporter with the Leader as well as the former Bulletin and Glasgow Herald in the 1950s, before joining the National Trust for Scotland in roles in PR and the organisation’s directorate from 1961 to 1992.

But now with the help of a CCTV reader provided to him free-of-charge by charity Scottish War Blinded, Findlay, who is also a National Service veteran, has been able to read his newspapers once again.

The specialist electronic device projects anything held underneath its magnifier onto a large monitor, with the picture easily adjustable to make even the smallest print legible for him.

Findlay explained: “This CCTV reader is an indispensable piece of equipment for me.

“I use it every day, all the time. This past year I’d read very little as I didn’t have the means to do it.

“It’s so simple to operate. It’s clear,

“It responds to all my reading requirements – it’s contributed to getting my independence back.”

Findlay says he first started noticing there was a problem with his vision while volunteering as a reader for the Helensburgh-based talking newspaper.

The initial impact of his sight loss and losing engagement with the written word was “devastating,” says the veteran, who has lived alone since his wife, April, passed away in 2005.

Findlay said: “When I was reading one of the pieces for the talking newspaper, the print was so light I couldn’t read it.

“That was awful. That was one of the early indications that my sight was failing.

“It was devastating. When you’ve read a lot, it’s devastating to find that your sight is a sense that is going to diminish. You take it for granted, and, quite naturally, don’t realise how often you need your sight for everything.

“My level of sight is poor now. I’ve lost all my central vision, so it’s just the peripheral vision I work with. I need to magnify all print.”