Being blind at birth is a challenge most of us can only imagine. Mike Newman took up that challenge in a way that has become an inspiration.
On his first day at working with a bank he was told he would never make bank manager. He did with a 25-year career at Barclays. Then told he couldn’t, he learned to ride a motorbike and then drive cars. He wanted to be a racing driver but even Mike knew that wasn't a reality, convention tells us this is impossible.
What happens next is breath taking for anyone regardless of ability / disability. Mike defied the odds not once but multiple times to become the fastest blind man on the planet gaining 8 Guinness World Records for land, air and sea.
With the records came the dream. How to share the feeling of being alive. Whilst on this journey, others who had challenges of their own living life with disabilities inspired him to share the amazing life enhancing experience, so Speed of Sight was born.
Mike Newman’ CEO set up this remarkable organisation which with it's unique dual controlled track and off road cars opens up the world of motorsport to many who would never have thought they could drive at all. In the process it opens minds and changes lives.
Notably the Speed Of Sight driving experience is open to all age groups and abilities from children as young as 6 years old to adults aged 90 due to the special adapted dual steering system. Bringing a real opportunity for anyone who despite his or her disability be it sensory, cognitive impairments or physical disability can now take part in a life enhancing driving experience for the first time. We believe that our experience is driving change in hearts and minds and if we only help inspire and change one person’s outlook, then we’ve changed the world.
Mike has grown the charity and the charity has grown Mike. A string of world records have pushed Mike to the limit and raised the profile of Speed Of Sight with him flying planes, driving motorcycles, cars, and trucks at speeds of up to 200mph on land. May 2017 will see a new high profile world speed record attempt at 100mph on water in Torbay.
Mike and the rest of the Speed of Sight team now travel to all corners of the country and people with severe disabilities make long journeys to attend their track days. They have a huge archive of moving and humbling footage located at www.SpeedOfSight.org showing people whose lives have been changed forever. One day Speed Of Sight will have a permanent Centre where they can run their own change programmes.
In the interim, before the centre can be achieved we need to expand the charity in terms of producing more cars to enable us to deliver driving experiences to more people with disabilities but this again will be without any government funding. Speed Of Sight are completely reliant on the kind generosity of commercial partners, sponsors and donations from the general public, so we hope that anyone who has read this article is able to share our story and assist us where they feel they can.
Article and photos supplied by Speed of Sight.