Tom Walker was born totally blind in Manchester in April 1964. At the age of 3.5, Tom had an operation to remove the congenital cataract from his right eye which gave him a small amount of useful vision. Tom can remember waking up from that operation and being able to see for the first time. Sadly for Tom, his first experience of eyesight wasn’t one of the great visual wonders of the world, but a hospital ward replete with patients and nurses.
Doctors decided not to remove the cataract from Tom’s left eye in case they upset the progress they had made on his right eye. As a result, Tom remains totally blind in his left eye. Tom was educated at the Royal School for the Blind in Liverpool and Worcester College for the Blind. Both schools were specialist residential schools and all of the pupils had some form of visual impairment. Initially, Tom was taught in Braille but as magnification improved and became more readily available, Tom transferred to print.
While at school, Tom obtained ten O levels and three A levels. He also took part in numerous extra-curricular activities including sport and drama. After school, Tom obtained a 1st class honours degree in Psychology and has worked as a freelance BBC reporter, researcher and producer and as a media relations specialist for central and local government. Tom currently works as a communications consultant for various public and voluntary sector organisations.
Tom’s interests include music, drama, politics and sport – Tom is one of the founder members of FC United of Manchester. He is also a keen independent traveller. He has visited over 30 countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Cuba and Mexico. Tom says: “While being visually impaired provides me with numerous environmental and social challenges, I don’t allow my disability to prevent me from doing most of the things I want to do. There have been occasions however, especially when walking through the streets of Caracas in Venezuela, that I have wondered what on earth a visually impaired person is doing here on his own.”
“Although I have travelled totally independently to a number of risky countries, especially in South and Central America, I have been fortunate so far and have survived unscathed; seeing a man walking alone with a white cane must be quite a temptation for pick-pockets and criminals.” Tom added: “You only get one life and it isn’t a dress rehearsal. I firmly believe in making the most of it!”
To book Tom Walker to make a personal appearance at your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing email@example.com or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.
“When Tom’s name was suggested, I discussed the possibility with him and he enthusiastically jumped at the opportunity. Since then, Tom has presented the ceremony on the last two occasions, and his presentation has been positively received by those who attended. As a speaker, Tom combines being informal with a relaxed authority. When necessary, Tom can be either serious or humorous. His overall approach, however, is inclusive and welcoming. Tom is visually impaired and uses his SmartPhone to access his speaking notes. This, allied to a very good memory, means that Tom speaks fluently and clearly. Tom has been and remains a huge supporter of Henshaws and firmly believes in the work we do to help people with disabilities to lead independent lives.”
Stewart Graham – Henshaws Society for Blind People’s