A SOCIAL group for people who are blind or partially sighted in the Forth Valley area plans to visit the Bannockburn Heritage Centre this Saturday - and says it might even change the course of history.

The Forth Valley Blind Group, formed by Stirling woman Jannette Scott, meet weekly and embark on monthly outings.

This time around they have chosen the Bannockburn Heritage Centre as the venue has audio-description available; is all on one level, and has disabled access as well as toilets, cafe and a shop.

Jannette said: “We’re eager that the visit will inform us more about the history of the area, especially the Battle of Bannockburn where we will get to experience a 3D feel of the battle.

“We’ll be allowed to feel weapons, battle dress and other objects found at the site. The battle-room finale will enable one of us to lead the Scots and or English out onto the field - and perhaps even change history and allow the English to win this time.”

Janette, who lives in St Ninian’s in Stirling, has the sight loss conditions retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma.

She formed the Forth Valley Blind Group after working with sight loss charity RNIB Scotland to raise awareness of sight loss in the area and funds for audio-books. The group meets once a month on a Saturday, enabling those in employment and or at college to attend.

“Our aim is to bring together people of all ages with sight impairments from the Forth Valley area,” explains Janette. “We decide where we want to go and try to remain as independent as possible using public transport.

“There is no fee to join the group but we pay our way as we go. Often entry fees to places will be reduced if you are registered blind or partially sighted, and if we have sighted guides with us they will often get in free as well. We always encourage new members to join us.”

The group met for the first few months at Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Camelon, getting to know each other and sharing and talking about issues that concerned those who have sight impairments.

Their events have included a gluten-free tasting experience, Christmas treats including a Secret Santa for guide-dogs and a visit to the Beef Eater restaurant in Stirling.

Ahead of this month’s outing to the Bannockburn Heritage Centre, Janette added: "The outside area has a level walkway leading up towards the rotunda and then out towards the statue of Robert the Bruce sitting astride his horse.

"The area is a great place to run our guide dogs. My own guide dog Esme has her free run during the week in this field.

“We may require assistance from time to time, but predominately we try to get out and about on our own, assisting each other to navigate from A to B and ensuring we are safe and happy.”

To find out more about the Forth Valley Blind group, please contact Janette at janette.g.scott@gmail.com or telephone 01786 450557.