St Paul's Eye Unit - a
spectacle for the Lord Mayor
THE Lord Mayor of Liverpool visited St.
Paul's Eye Unit at the Royal to see for herself why the department was granted:-
'Freedom of the City' last week.
The experience demonstrated why the renowned unit deserved such high acclaim and
during the visit the Lord Mayor, Erica Kemp CBE, met Margaret Lunt, 83, of
Kirkby, who started receiving pioneering treatment; in the last millennium;
which eventually saved her from going blind.
Margaret had reached the age of 64 without having to wear spectacles - but in
1996 discovered she had age related macular degeneration (AMD) - a condition
which normally leads to blindness.
Margaret said:- "I remember back in 1996 - I'd reached 64 years and came
to the Royal for an eye appointment at St Paul's. I was sitting next to a woman
who had blood in her eyes and I thought there's not much hope for her. It turned
out that her eyes were fine and it was me who had a problem with vision."
A mother of 5 girls and 1 boy; Margaret's initial concern was around her
late husband, Tommy, as he wasn't the best of cooks!
Margaret said:- "Tommy died 18 years ago; but my 1st reaction was to
teach him to cook before my vision became worse."
A pilot research study for Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT) was about to start and
the mother of 6 immediately volunteered to be included in the eye trials.
Margaret added:- "I had nothing to lose because at that time there was
simply no treatment for AMD."
During the trial, Margaret was required to attend the hospital every month for
the next 2 years as well going to Aberdeen eye clinic, in Scotland, for the
first treatment of the PDT clinical trial; which showed a strong commitment
The trial results eventually led to the prescription medicine Lucentis being
introduced which saved Margaret's vision. This made it possible for her to live
an independent life with her little Westie dog, Harry - after her husband had
Margaret added:- "The treatment was marvellous and I am so grateful
because it has meant I've been able to live by myself without having to be
dependent on others. I am able to visit my children and recently went shopping
in Leeds with my daughter Maureen."
The Lord Mayor, Erica Kemp CBE, added:- "Visiting St Paul's Eye Unit was a
real eye opener in more ways than one! The advancement in treatment and
technology is incredible at the Royal - I can see why so many eye experts move
to Liverpool to be part of this centre of excellence.
My day was made when I got to meet and chat with Margaret about her excellent
eye treatment and the story of how her sight had been saved. This has given her
real independence and made a huge difference to her quality of life."
Sajjad Ahmad, senior clinical lecturer at the University of Liverpool, added:-
"It was a real honour that the Lord Mayor could spend some time with us at
St Paul's Eye Unit. It was also great to meet Margaret who was attending a
Margaret was our first ever patient to enrol into a clinical trial and happened
to be attending clinic that day. The award we will be getting this week from the
City and the Lord Mayor is as much a testimony to our wonderful patients as it
is to the past and present staff of St Paul's Eye Unit."
Homes and Shops for a Pound plan unveiled
A further 150 homes are set to be brought back into use in a major
expansion of Liverpool's Homes for a Pound scheme. It follows the success of a
pilot initiative, involving properties around Granby 4 Streets and Arnside
Road. They are being brought back into use by people who live or work in
Liverpool that have bought them for £1 on condition that they bring them up to
decent homes standard and do not sell them for 5 years.
A report to the Council's Cabinet on Thursday, 2 April 2015, is recommending the
introduction of Homes For a Pound Plus focused on empty terraced homes off
Smithdown Road in Picton. The scheme will be split into 5 separate phases based
upon condition and geography in order to manage demand.
The City Council will carry out remedial works on the properties that are in a
particularly poor condition to make sure that they are viable for people to work
on, and will also look at introducing a financial assistance scheme for those
who do not have the money to hand to carry out the refurbishments.
In addition, the council is to also explore offering a number of vacant shop
units that it owns along Smithdown Road as part of a Shops for a Pound scheme
which would see them sold or leased to businesses who can invest in them and
bring them back into use.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "We had overwhelming interest in
our pilot Homes for a Pound scheme and those projects are now starting to come
to fruition, transforming run down properties into beautiful family homes.
Now that we know that this type of scheme is a viable way of bringing empty
homes back into use, we are going to expand it significantly and also looking at
using a similar model to bring vacant shop units back into use as well.
This is just 1 of a number of innovative schemes that the Council and its
partners are using to drive up the standard of housing in the City, tackling
blight and regenerating areas that had been neglected for far too long.
This part of Picton is already being transformed through the creation of the new
Archbishop Blanch High School and this scheme will help further improve the area
and make sure it becomes a thriving community again."
The empty homes that will be targeted as part of the scheme are located in and
around Britannia Avenue, Altcar Avenue, Childwall Avenue, Dorset Avenue, Bird
Street, Richardson Street, Garrick Street, Tunstall Street and Webster Road.
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for housing, Councillor Ann O'Byrne, said:-
"This is part of our commitment to bring into use another 2,000 properties
in addition to the 1,000 we have already and completed and the 1,000 we are on
Driving up the quality, standard and range of properties in the City is a
priority, but we know that this scheme is not a panacea to dealing with empty
homes. It is just one of a range of things that we are doing in partnership with
housing associations and developers to make sure that people have a choice of
good quality properties to live in, whatever their budget."
The current Homes for a Pound waiting list; which saw 1,000 people apply in
April 2013 for one of the 20 pilot properties; will be reviewed and there will
be an opportunity for new applicants to express an interest in due course.