WORKERS at a north-east energy company have donated £1500 to a sensory charity that supported a staff member’s young child who has a visual impairment.

The Aberdeen base of Nippon Gases handed over a cheque to North East Sensory Services (NESS) after the workforce won a step challenge that saw them compete against other divisions.

Scott Walker from Aberdeen nominated NESS for the donation after the charity helped his daughter Lexi when their family first found out she was blind in one eye. Lexi, now 15, was born without an optical nerve behind her right eye. However, it was not picked up on until she was four.

The family realised something was wrong when the youngster was playing a game with her mum, which involved covering one eye and looking at pictures and saying what they could see. Walker said: “Lexi covered her right eye and said, ‘I just see black’. We were totally bewildered and shocked.

“We took her to get her eyes tested at the hospital and they told us that behind her right eye all they could see was a black mass.

“The doctor told us she had optic nerve hypoplasia, which meant the nerve behind the eye had not formed from when she was a foetus.

“Her eye is perfect. If she had an optic nerve, they could attach it and she would be able to see, but she doesn’t have one.”

After her diagnosis, Lexi and her family received support from NESS. The charity was on hand to answer questions and visited Lexi’s school to ensure she was comfortable in her surroundings and able to see the front of the classroom so she could do her work.

NESS continued to make school visits and stayed in touch with the family through Lexi’s primary years. It still sends regular updates about local events that she could participate in.

Despite her visual impairment, Lexi went on to become a star gymnast – competing in national mainstream competitions – and she now hopes to start coaching others.

Walker said: “We are so proud of Lexi and all that she continues to achieve. We tell her all the time – she has no idea how amazing she is.”

NESS supports thousands of people with visual and hearing impairments across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Dundee, Moray and Angus. The charity’s main objective is to help people with sight or hearing loss live as independently as possible.