A CHARITY in Worcestershire is mourning the loss of an inspirational ambassador.

Tireless campaigner for the blind Mary Bonham, MBE, aged 93, died earlier this month.

She was former president of the Worcestershire Association for the Blind, spent most of her life teaching blind people throughout the UK and championed the work of blind people at conferences across the world.

Blind since birth, Miss Bonham did not let this hold her back and having qualified as a teacher, she went on to teach at various schools for 38 years, many of which were specialist schools that enabled blind children to access education.

After retiring she spent much time working with Worcestershire Association for the Blind, in Sansome Walk, to ensure that there were facilities available in the county for people with sight loss.

Jenny Gage, chief officer for Worcestershire Association for the Blind said: “We are very sad to hear about Mary’s death. She was a phenomenal woman who did so much for the association. We literally would not be where we are today without the work that she did.”

Towards the end of her career, Edward Short, Minister for Education, invited Miss Bonham to be on a Commission for Enquiry into education for the blind in the UK.

Miss Bonham, who was born in Cornwall, felt this was the most important work of her life as it helped to ensure that visually impaired people were entitled to receive the education they deserve. Upon retirement in 1976 she moved to Worcester and joined the executive committee for Worcestershire Association for the Blind where she was an active member until 2004, having spent nine of these years as vice-president. She was instrumental in moving the charity forward and establishing its permanent base in the Bradbury Centre in Sansome Walk. In 1992, she was awarded an MBE for her work with the blind.

Miss Bonham will have a lasting legacy with the association as the main hall at the charity’s Bradbury Centre is named ‘Bonham Hall’ after her, and her brother Reginald, who also received an MBE.

Reginald, who was also blind from birth and a former chess champion, was maths master at RNIB New College, Worcester.

“We think that this is a fitting tribute to Mary as the hall is the heart of the charity’s activities as well as being available to hire for the wider community so everyone in Worcestershire can benefit from her good work,” she added.

Miss Bonham died at Severn Heights Nursing Home, Callow End.

Her funeral will take place on Wednesday, April 1 at 12.30pm at St Martin’s Church, London Road, Worcester.