Lesley Warner-Bird married her full-time carer and best friend.

The Tauranga resident and Blind Foundation client had an intimate backyard wedding on April 2, marrying Paul Bird.

Among the 12 guests present was client Graham Stannard – the two have become good friends through the Blind Foundation – and Graham’s daughter Jordan Stannard was Lesley’s flower girl.

Her new husband, Paul, retired from his career as Downer Operations Manager in Auckland last year to move to Tauranga and be Lesley’s full-time carer as her vision deteriorated.

Lesley suffered retinal detachment in April 2016 which led to total blindness in her right eye. She is short sighted in her left eye and is often fatigued as a result of eye strain.

In spite of these challenges, she says she was relaxed on her wedding day.

“My daughter Laura and son Phil were a huge support. Not to mention my full-time carer who is now my husband.”

She says the Blind Foundation has been a fantastic support system for her. From when her vision deteriorated, to helping her continue work until stopping last year, to finding a community that she can connect with.

Lesley has become an active community member and runs the monthly Tauranga Blind Foundation book club with another client and close friend Sara Ash.

She also found the peer support group Tech Toolbox helpful to get to grips with information and communications technology and has joined the “Have a Go” sessions where our clients can give sailing, canoeing or other adventure activities a try.

“I particularly enjoyed the Keep-Fit class organised by client Julie Harper as part of her polytechnic assessment last year.”

Our clients can join the Tauranga book club, or other community groups by emailing taurangaadmin@blindfoundation.org.nz​ or call 0800 24 33 33 and ask to speak to the Tauranga office.