A BLIND teenager is able to read again thanks to the efforts of a caring Inverclyde charity champion.

Connor Simpson, 15, who has been blind since birth, says his life has changed forever thanks to big-hearted fundraiser Amy Shearer.

Amy organised a charity night to raise funds to buy Connor an Orcam My Eye.

The artificial vision device has a lightweight smart camera which attaches onto his glasses and instantly reads text aloud and recognises faces, products and money.

Connor said: “I can now read a menu in a restaurant. It’s great.”

Amy said: “When I saw Connor able to read for the first time, I just stood there crying.”

Connor’s mum Janis added: “I can’t find the words to describe what Amy’s done for Connor — it’s absolutely amazing.

“I want to thank her from the bottom of our hearts, as this means so much to Connor.

“It has changed his life.”

Amy says she was thrilled to raise over £5,000 at a charity night held in the Thistle Suite in Greenock for Connor.

She said: “An OrCam has now been purchased for Connor and after the company heard about it they upgraded him to the newest, more expensive model free of charge. 

“Connor received £3,000 in total — £2,600 for his OrCam and £400 for a new laptop to allow him to get a programme for visually impaired people.”

Amy has also donated £510 each to five local charities which are close to her heart, including Friends 4 Ever, a club for children with additional support needs.

Other charitable recipients were the Ardgowan Hospice Butterfly bereavement service for children, The Eileen McCallum Trust, which provides support for boys and young men living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the i58 Project, which set up the local foodbank, and Children in Poverty Inverclyde.

Children in Poverty will use their money to fund family holidays for children from Craigmarloch School in July at Hunters Quay. 

Janice Lee, from the Butterfly project, says Amy’s donation will be utilised to buy resources to help bereaved children.

Tracy McAlinden, who is the secretary of Friends 4 Ever, praised Amy’s fundraising exploits.

She said: “Amy has been a volunteer with us for years and she’s fantastic.

“This donation will help towards our summer trips.”

Amy is keen to thank everyone who donated money to the appeal.

She said: “I want to thank everyone who has made this possible. It’s a figure I never dreamed of making and I can’t quite put into words how happy I am to be helping all these charities who do such amazing work.”

Amy was keen to thank Kirsty and the staff in the Thistle/Clyde Suite as well as Masquerade and Allan Knights for the entertainment and her colleagues at Caledonian MacBrayne who helped with the fundraising.

Special thanks also go to Kathleen and Harry at the Wemyss Bay Station Bar for their support and raising £200 towards the cause, as well as PDC Copyprint and Tesco for allowing Amy to bag pack.