Dan’s aid for people with visual impairment earns royal reward
Daniel Gallimore’s charity, Have Stick Will Travel, raises money to buy mainly electronic gadgets that can enhance the lives of blind and poorly sighted people. He has been awarded a Bristol Empire Medal in this year’s Honours List for services to people with visual impairments in Bristol.
Dan 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 men by a Lloyds Bank cash point in Bristol. The original victim got off lightly with just a broken nose and bruises while Daniel was in Frenchay Hospital in a coma for several months, waking up to discover he had lost his sight. Daniel’s ordeal was told in a book his mother wrote called The Wind Beneath My Wings, detailing this terrible time for him and his family.
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 other members of the Royal Family. He then became the first Bravery Award winner at the Pride of Britain Awards in 1999. He has been to two Palace Garden Parties. He was also awarded the Bristol Lord Mayor's Medal for his charity work,.
When Dan realised how expensive the items were that were needed to make life more normal for unsighted people he set up a charity, Have Stick Will Travel.
His mother Sylvia and brother Adam are trustees and help with fundraising. Dan also gives talks on how to interact with blind people, going into schools, offices, shops, anywhere he is asked. He especially enjoys 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 the sighted members of the Somerville Club in Bishopston with the poorly sighted members of Avon Sports and Leisure for the Visually Impaired.
Money has been raised by raffles, dances, dinners, Elvis evenings and poetry readings. Dan has fundraised by abseiling down the Avon Gorge, off-road driving, flying a glider and scuba diving. Coronavirus has made fundraising difficult in 2020 so Dan has changed directions and now, with the help of Amazon self publishing, is publishing books to raise money for his charity.
The first one came out a few months ago, titled The Penultimate Sacrifice, about recurring dreams. The second book, The Unseeing Prince: and other Fairy Tales is written by Dan and his mother.