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Tributes to blind man who 'loved life'

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 April 2009 | UPDATED: 12:19 07 May 2010

Neville Howes.

Neville Howes.

The wife of a blind man who never let his sight problems curtail his love of the great outdoors has today paid an emotional tribute to her husband who died suddenly following a heart attack.

Mauveen Howes with a picture of her husband Neville Howes.

The wife of a blind man who never let his sight problems curtail his love of the great outdoors has today paid an emotional tribute to her husband who died suddenly following a heart attack.

Neville Henry Howes, 59, a solicitors' secretary from Brambles Close, Spixworth, died at home on Monday, March 23 after falling ill and becoming short of breath.

His wife, Mauveen Howes , 60, today paid tribute to the man who she said “loved life” and doted on his granddaughter.

She said, despite being left blind at the age of 15 after trouble with the optic nerves in his eyes, he loved walking and exploring.

The couple had met when Mrs Howes came to work at Hansell Stevenson Solcitiors in Cathedral Close, Norwich in 1981.

Mr Howes, who grew up in Wreningham in Norfolk, had already been working with the firm for nearly 20 years, starting in 1969 and eventually taking the position of secretary.

Despite not being able to see he used a computer programme which read back out loud what he had typed in.

Mrs Howes said: “He never let his sight hold him back. He used the computer at work and began using one at home more and more as well.

“He also used to follow Coronation Street and used tapes which were sent to him with recordings of newspapers on them.

“He did so much, a lot of people did not realise he was blind. We joined a club once and for three months no one there realised, until he used his stick, that he could not see.”

They married in 1990, when Neville was 40 and Mauveen 41 with a blessing held in Wreningham.

Mrs Howes, said: “He was a very modest person, he would not blow his own trumpet. He was also a real live wire and had a wicked sense of humour, sometimes he would say things in such a dead pan way people would not realise he was joking with them.

“He also liked going to church, listening to the cricket and football and taking walks in the Lake and Peak District, he would do all sorts from cave exploring to hiking up mountains.

“Even though he could not see the mountains, he could sense them, and sometimes when the light was behind them he could make out their vague outline. He loved the radio as well, wherever he went, he took a radio with him.”

Mr Howes served for 30 years as parish clerk on Wreningham Parish Council, making notes in Braille and transcribing them back and regularly took part in bell-ringing.

Mrs Howes said: “I have had so many letters and cards from people who have had so many nice things to say about him. Even the rector at Wreningham who was there when he was young and lost his sight and helped him read and learn Braille.”

The family have asked for donations in memory of Mr Howes to go to the Aplastic Anaemia Trust as his 11-year-old granddaughter from Mrs Howes' first marriage, Olivia-Louise Clarey, suffers from the illness and is waiting for a bone-marrow transplant.

A funeral service was held today at All Saints Church, Wreningham at 2pm.

Would you like to pay tribute to a loved one? Call Evening News reporter Tracey Gray on 01603 772418 or email tracey.gray@archant.co.uk

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