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Dame Penelope Wilton, honoured in Queen’s Birthday list, presents sight-saving Radio 4 appeal

Posted on: Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

CBM extends its warmest congratulations to actress and CBM supporter Penelope Wilton, who was made a Dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list this weekend. The award recognizes her major contribution to drama and numerous acclaimed performances on stage, screen and television, from 1980s sitcom Ever Decreasing Circles, to Downton Abbey and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Next week, Dame Penelope, who has supported CBM’s work for several years, will present a BBC Radio 4 appeal to raise vital funds to prevent children from going needlessly blind. The appeal, broadcast on Sunday 19th and Thursday 23rd June, will focus on the story  of 2 year-old Abraham from Tanzania, East Africa, who was born with cataracts that threatened to rob him of sight. Struggling just to put food on the table, his mother Zaina couldn’t afford the treatment he needed to stop him becoming permanently blind.

Speaking about the appeal, Penelope Wilton said:

“It is shocking to think that children in East Africa are going blind because they can’t afford a simple operation that, in the UK, we treat as routine. I can’t imagine what it must be like to see your child losing their sight – to see them struggling to learn, to play, to explore the world. And if you’re living in poverty in a country like Tanzania, where keeping your child safe and healthy is already a struggle, it must be truly terrifying because in poor communities losing your sight too often means losing the chance to go to school or to earn a living as an adult. That’s why I’m pleased to be supporting CBM’s work saving children’s sight in Tanzania by presenting their BBC Radio 4 Appeal. I hope you’ll listen and support this vital work.”

An estimated 1.4 million children worldwide are blind, and yet in nearly half of all cases, sight loss could be prevented if the child is treated before it’s too late.

For children like Abraham, born with cataracts, there is a small window of opportunity to treat the condition before it causes permanent blindness.  Funds raised by the Radio 4 appeal will help save children’s sight in Tanzania by ensuring that conditions that cause blindness are identified in time, and providing vital treatment.   

Listen to Dame Penelope Wilton present our BBC Radio 4 Appeal on Sunday 19th June at 7.55am and 9.26pm and on Thursday 23rd June at 3.27pm. It will also be available to listen to at: