90 YEARS YOUNG: Keith Hendry is travelling from Hervey Bay to Bunbury raising funds for the Royal Society for the Blind and awareness about its founder, his grandfather.
90 YEARS YOUNG: Keith Hendry is travelling from Hervey Bay to Bunbury raising funds for the Royal Society for the Blind and awareness about its founder, his grandfather.

The 90-year-old man tackling 90 towns to raise $90,000

AGE means nothing to Keith Hendry. At 90 years old he's a man on a mission and he's coming to a town near you.

Ninety towns in fact.

At about 1pm today Keith will cut a few laps of Palmerin St on his mobility scooter as he stops in Warwick to raise funds for the Royal Society for the Blind and awareness for its founder, Andrew Whyte Hendry, his grandfather.

Keith said he started doing his family history a few years ago and found over 370 pages of meetings minutes, documents and newspaper articles.

"After I'd gone through all that, I'd found my grandfather," Keith said.

"I never knew him. He died before I was born, so this was a fascinating insight into an amazing man, who is a famous sort of bloke who has received very little recognition for what he's done.

"So I've decided to take a trip across the country. (I'm) stopping at 90 towns, speaking at schools and to the man on the street to try and get (Andrew) his rightful place in Australian history and raise a little money for the Royal Society for the Blind at the same time."

Andrew Whyte Hendry was indeed an amazing man.

Blinded in one eye at age six, after accidentally poking a fork in his eye, he eventually lost the sight in his other eye and was completely blind by age 18.

He taught himself to read braille and set out to become an itinerant teacher of the blind.

He travelled throughout South Australia using Cobb & Co coaches to get around and found many blind people were reduced to begging and considered second-class citizens.

Andrew realised if blind people could read, then they could easily be trained to work; learning skills that would see them become active and valued members of the community.

In 1884, at the age of 24, Andrew founded the Royal Institute for the Blind in Adelaide with the assistance of Sir Charles Goode, a wealthy merchant and politician.

To this day, the society's goal is to assist Australians who are blind or vision-impaired achieve the quality of life to which they aspire.

Keith said he will be getting around town raising funds on a specially donated mobility scooter, supplied by Walk On Wheels.

"They want it back unfortunately, but we've decorated it with stickers and banners so people will know what I'm all about," he said.

"We've already raised $7000 and the Royal Society for the Blind said $20,000 would be amazing, but I'm going to try and raise them $90,000.

"This journey is for my grandfather, if we raise the money that's a bonus but the aim is recognition for Andrew Whyte Hendry."

You can donate to the Royal Society for the Blind online at http://www.rsb.org.au/donation or to Keith directly if you see him in the street today.


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