Fleetwood man Brian Casey put the town on the map again after becoming the first person in Britain and Europe to trial groundbreaking visual aid technology.
And Brian, who thought he would never see again after losing his sight nearly 27 years ago, described the eSight electronic glasses as “life-changing” after he was finally able to see again.
Now the 51 year old, who lives with wife Beverly off Poulton Road, is hoping to acquire his own set of the £9,995 specs, which have now gone on sale in the UK.
The former mechanic was left with virtually no vision after two fluke sports injuries occurred within exactly a year of each other.
But thanks to eSight, which he tested in London last month after it had been available first in Canada, managed to look upon Beverly’s face for the first time ever.
He was given the chance of the trial because he works as a low vision officer for the charity NVision (the Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde Society for the Blind) and had come into contact with Associated Optical, the company which is the UK partner of eSight.
Brian, who grew up in Hemel Hempstead, said; “They have done successful trials in Canada and I didn’t hesitate to be the first person to try it in Britain and Europe.
“I really would describe it as life-changing. The first time I put the headset on, I was able to see a clock on the wall actually read the time.
“I looked upon my wife’s face for the first time and she was even more beautiful than I expected.
“For the first time in years I was able to read a newspaper.
“One of the most amazing things was being able to see colours for the first time event, they were so vivid.
“I am definitely interested in buying one, I am saving up for it.
“I hope to be able to see Fleetwood Town play - I’ve not seen a football match for nearly 30 years.”
It was on August 11, 1988, that Brian, then a keen sportsman, lost the vision in his left eye, when he was hit in the eye by a squash rocket.
With remarkable ill luck, exactly a year later he was smashed in the face by a football, causing his cheeckbone to break and pierce his right eye.
Rendered severely visually impaired, he lost his job and spiralled into depression.
However, things looked up when he met his future wife Beverly, from Fleetwood, at a rehabilitation centre in Torquay.
Brian moved to Fleetwood and the couple married.
Eventually he found work with the charity NVision.
Brian says: “I think with eSight, there is a real chance to enjoy some of the things I used to take for granted once again, but it doesn’t work for everyone - it depends on the extent of your impairment.”
Beverly, 46, who has had a degree of visual impairment from birth, said: “I told Brian not to build his hopes up about eSight.
“I was with him when he was involved in the trials in London and I realised from what he was saying that he could see. It was a really exciting moment.”
Beverly also tried eSight but it wasn’t as successful for her, sadly.
Nick Hamlett, area manager for Associated Optical, said: “We are conducting more trials to give people the chance to see how it helps them.
“We have already seen the price come down and so far the feedback has been really good.”
Jacqui Morley, press officer for NVision, said: “We are currently looking with Brian at ways of helping to fund an eSight set for him.”
For more information visit www.esighteyewear.co.uk