MORE than £15,000 was raised for Wiltshire Blind Association at a garden party at the Avebury Trusloe home of the new Wiltshire High Sheriff Geraldine Wimble.

Guests at the event on Sunday included the president of the blind association, Lady Fiona Lansdowne with Lord Lansdowne; MP Michael Ancram and his wife Jane; and last year's high sheriff David Margesson.

Also present was Barry Smith from the Haine and Smith opticians' group, which has pledged to raise £20,000 for the WBA as part of the firm's 30th anniversary celebrations this year.

The firm sponsored Sunday's Midsummer Lunch Party.

There was a huge auction with Charles Wells from Kidson-Trigg wielding the gavel, with lots including tickets for Center Parcs; a day's fishing; rounds of golf at Bowood; a day at the Castle Combe skid pan and an evening at Marlborough College Observatory.

The midsummer lunches in aid of the WBA started last year with one at the Burderop home of Mr and Mrs Margesson.

On Sunday the guest speaker was journalist and author Sue Arnold who gave an amusing account of her life with sight loss.

She has about eight per cent vision and told the guests that it was like looking through a shrubbery.

Giles Currie, WBA chair, thanked the Wimbles and Lady Lansdowne. He also thanked Haine and Smith, saying: "Without their support the event costs would have fallen to the charity and we simply would not have been able to raise as much money to help the blind and visually impaired in Wiltshire."