Just Jill: The Autobiography of Jill Allen-King OBE: The Autobiography of Jill Allen-King MBE

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Just Jill: The Autobiography of Jill Allen-King OBE: The Autobiography of Jill Allen-King MBE

Just Jill: The Autobiography of Jill Allen-King OBE: The Autobiography of Jill Allen-King MBE

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For the next seven years Jill barely left the house, too scared to go outside unaccompanied and afraid that she would never again be able to participate in the activities she loved, such as dancing. Mrs Allen-King, now aged 70, spent the rest of her life doing voluntary work and campaigning for blind and disabled people. There have been many books written by people who have lost their sight due to illness or accident, at birth or later stages of their life- to name but a few at random: Jacques Lusseyrand “And there was light”,Sir Ian Fraser “Whereas I was Blind and prof. She was never overawed by distinguished people and her forthright method of questioning often succeeded when more deferential interviewees would have failed.

She is on familiar terms with ministers, and when she shakes them by the hand, she does not let go until she has finished with them. It kept me engaged from the first page, made me cry, smile, angry, happy and I am amazed to see how strong Jill has been all her life.On my first day out with Topsy, we were refused entry to the local library – Jacqueline went in on her own. One hundred people go blind every day in this country and 50 per cent could be cut if people went to have their eyes tested. Jill said: “I didn’t leave the house for seven years because I was too scared to go outside unless I was taken by my husband and family. My husband can come for short walks each day, but he is restricted due to having dementia and heart problems.

It will serve as an inspiration to the many thousands of people each year who find themselves suddenly without sight and at a loss what to do, and an education to the many millions of sighted people who lack a proper appreciation of what the blind can do. But as the years have passed and I’ve met so many people with different disabilities, I’ve learned that this is God’s way of using me to help other people.If it needs a motto, it should surely be the roman one “Per Aspera Ad Astra” through darkness to the stars. It was only when Jill got her first guide dog that she began to rediscover the world outside her front door and take those first giant steps towards regaining her confidence and freedom.

Tragedy struck again in her early twenties after she suffered a glaucoma which left her blind and virtually housebound. Forced to give up her job as a cook for a company in the City, she spent the next seven years depressed and virtually housebound. In spite of being partially sighted, she was able to enjoy a fairly normal childhood and, on achieving a catering qualification, worked as a cook.Pride of Britain celebrates the achievements of this country's unsung heroes who make our world a better place.

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