Colin pilots pioneer project

By Martin Neville

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Colin pilots pioneer project

Colin McArthur, right, on his latest challenge, in charge of the Bembridge Lifeboat.

A BLIND man will pilot a new £3 million 260-seater catamaran across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world to raise funds for pioneering stem cell research.

Colin McArthur, 58, will be taking the controls of the Wightlink catamaran on Thursday, October 22, to raise awareness and funds towards an exciting new project to test whether stem cells from the iris can be re-grown in the retina to restore sight to those who have gone blind through retinitis pigmentosa.

The project is being undertaken by a team of researchers in Southampton, headed by Prof Andrew Lotery.

He said: "We are now able to take tissue from the front of the eyes and isolate stem cells, which ultimately we believe can be turned into the cells needed to restore sight.

"This research should lead to new treatments for retinitis pigmentosa and so is worth supporting."

Colin, who has been blind for 20 years, said: "I am delighted and grateful Wightlink has agreed to stage this event to highlight such an important milestone in the race to restore sight."

In the past, Colin has piloted a plane, got behind the controls of a hovercraft, flown a glider and most recently skippered a £1 million, 15-tonne lifeboat capable of 16 knots, in aid of the RNLI and RP Fighting Blindness.


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