ANGLESEY Circuit has been hosting a disability track day today (October 17) - giving those who would never normally be able to drive the chance to get behind the wheel.

The day, hosted by the Speed of Sight charity, invited people who are blind or have visual impairments, learning diffculties and more to take to the Ty-Croes track.

In all, 18 people from around the UK, were - one-by-one - given the rarest of opportunities to take on a 20-minute race around the circuit alongside their instructors.

With its specially designed vehicles, Speed of Sight allows people of any age or ability to experience the thrill of being behind the wheel on a race track or off road.

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The charity tours around circuits across the UK to allow these unique experiences to take place - but today was the first time they had visited Anglesey.

Reporter Arron Evans visited Anglesey Circuit to watch the experience unfold. This is how it went ...

While I was there, I was immediately taken to the side garage just off the circuit where eager participants were lining up to go for a drive with their instructors.

Speed of Sight co-founder Mike Newman was on hand to strap people in safely to their dual-controlled buggies and both the instructor and the driver wore a headpiece to communicate.

Daredevil Mike has himself been blind from birth and also made history becoming the first blind driver to exceed 200mph solo.

The Leader: Speed of SightSpeed of Sight (Image: Speed of Sight)

PIC: Speed of Sight's Mike Newman at Anglesey Circuit.

Speaking about the importance of today's event, he told me: "The people we work with will never be able to drive on the road legally due to illness or accident or due to the nature of their disability preventing them from getting a drivers licence.

"So, working with our instructors and specially-adapted cars, we give them the opportunity to achieve something they never thought possible."

The first driver I see take to the track is Deborah Naylor, who is from Bontnewydd in Gwynedd.

She has been blind from birth and admits she is 'apprehensive' of going behind a wheel for the first time in her life.

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But, after the experience itself, she was a feeling a little more upbeat and admits she enjoyed the 'speed and fun' of the experience.

She said: "I just can't put it in to words. I just feel overwhelmed because I have just done something that I've always wanted to do."

Another local taking to the track today was Nick Thomas, who hails from Talysarn in Gwynedd.

Nick lost his sight when he was just 18 years old, having been diagnosed with Stargardt Macular Distrophy.

But, by today, he has overcome all kinds of obstacles in life and has even represented Team GB on the Archery team.

He said: "It means an awful lot, opportunities like this for people with sight loss don't come along often. It was a really, really fantastic experience and it's been a really good day overall.

"I've done something similar in the past, but it was a completely different set up and I had to travel down to Oxford and it was just on a coned-out oval track. So, the experince here in a different open car with the wind flying across your face, it was completely different. It gave me more of a sense that I was driving around a track rather than a carpark!"

Talking about his battle against Stargardt Macular Distrophy, he explained that sport has always been a way of coping with that change in his life.

"I've always been a sporty person, always played football on the school team. So when I was diagnosed at 18, sport was my way of coping with what was going on in my life.

"I had to give up my job at the time, as I was a lifeguard at a leisure centre due to health and safety, so sport was the wat I was able to focus my energy on some positive.

"For years, I played international football and when I resigned from football, there was a period of three years where I did nothing and that's when mental health issues started to kick in.

"I didn't have the group of people around me living the same life as I was. So, we decided as a family, that I need something else to foucs on. Archery was the one that got hold of me as a physical and mental challenge.

"It gave me that kick to build my confidence again. I took it up in 2017 and now 2022, I'm proud and lucky enough to be representing Team GB."


@leaderlive_ Could you drive if you were blind? Well, these guys certainly gave it a good go today! #blindawareness #tiktok #anglesey #cars #driving ♬ original sound - LeaderLive_

Dafydd Eckley, Senior Rehabilitation Officer for Bangor's North Wales Society for the Blind, has worked with both Deborah and Nick in the past.

After seeing them both enjoy their experiences today, he told me: "It's a fantastic opportunity for people to have an experience they wouldn't otherwise have.

"We've got two members here, one Nick Thomas who has driven in the past but due to losing his vision wasn't able to keep doing so. So, getting behind the wheel of a car must be a hugley exciting experience for him.

"Deborah has never driven whatsoever at all, so she was very nervous obviously but very keen to have a go. It's an incredible experience for her, especially in an open top car with the wind howling as well, it'll be a very exhilirating experience I believe."

It was a really humbling experience to witness first hand and to see just how something most of us take for granted everyday - driving a car - meant to these people.

Thank you to the Speed of Sight charity for allowing me to do so. To learn more on them and what they do, visit: