Tuckswood: Pensioner's birthday prayers raise �1k for charity

Sam EmanuelA Tuckswood pensioner has raised almost �1,000 for a charity by holding a 12-hour prayer marathon on his 90th birthday.Sam Emanuel

A Tuckswood pensioner has raised almost �1,000 for a charity by holding a 12-hour prayer marathon on his 90th birthday.

When Eric Saunders started losing his sight about four years ago due to a condition called macular degeneration, he was given help and support by the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB).

So the committed Christian decided to repay that kindness on his landmark birthday by asking family and friends to sponsor his prayer marathon instead of giving him presents.

Mr Saunders, who lives in sheltered housing in Boniface Close and attends the New Hope Christian Fellowship church in Martineau Lane, said: 'Because of my advancing years I can't move around quite so much as I used to and I can't do the work I used to for my fellowship. My ministry is now the ministry of prayer.

'I wrote to about 150 or more people, family and friends in both America and this country, and asked them to send me their prayer requests to occupy me for the 12 hours. I never dreamed I would get such a response or raise so much.

'There's still some money coming in and I think it will reach �1,000.'

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Because he was in the Army during the war, Mr Saunders has also received help from St Dunstan's, a charity which gives support to blind and visually-impaired ex-service men and women.

Thanks to St Dunstan's and the NNAB he now has a CCTV electronic magnification reading system and a computer.

Mr Saunders, who has five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, said: 'The NNAB were the first people I went to and they have helped me tremendously, as well as St Dunstan's. Now my life is spent on the computer. All my prayer lists are on there and I can print off emails and put them under the CCTV.'

Mr Saunders says he has continued to pray for most of the people he thought of during the prayer marathon and now his daily prayers are taking a long time.

He said: 'I can't just forget those prayer requests and it has meant that my prayers each day of the week are now taking about three to four hours.'

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing sight problems, please call NNAB on 01603 629558, or log on to www.nnab.org.uk.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk