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Hair stylist offers special cut to Shropshire sight loss victims in memory of his dad
17 Nov 2021

Kameo Salon in Shrewsbury are helping those with sight loss by offering reduced price hair styling and raising money with the sale of Sight Loss Shropshire Christmas cards in the salon, from left Jo Stephens, Lindsey Rowlands and Leyland, salon owner Phillip Minton, Rosy McKenzie and Polly and Sight Loss Shropshire chair Robin Durham.

A Shrewsbury hairdresser is offering a special discount to blind and partially-sighted people from across Shropshire in memory of his late father who lost his sight after an accident.

Eric Minton worked at the famous Wem brewery in the years after the Second World War and now his son, Philip is backing local charity Sight Loss Shropshire (SLS) with special offers at his Kameo Salon in Castle Street for the more than 10,000 people in the county with sight loss.

Philip, who is celebrating being in business in Shrewsbury for 50 years, said: “I wanted to do something to mark reaching that milestone and to remember my dad and to help people who suffer the same problems he had.

“Just like anyone else people with sight loss take pride in their appearance and if we can help them and give them confidence then we’re delighted to be able to do so.

“Just as for all our clients we can advise them as to what will suit them and how it can fall into shape after cutting so it will be easy to style at home.”

The Salon is dog-friendly and played host to two members of the SLS committee, former physiotherapist Lindsey Rowlands and her friend, Rosy McKenzie, who both live in the town’s Copthorne area, and their guide dogs, Leyland and Polly, and Chief Officer Robin Durham.

Philip said: “My father was a very skilled man who worked for the Wem Brewery, starting off cleaning barrels and working his way up to engineer, in charge of the brewing machinery and boilers.

“He always had sight problems and couldn’t go into the services during the war but he did join the volunteer fire brigade.

“His eyesight was so poor he once cycled into a parked lorry on his way to a call out but they were made worse in an accident at work when a heavy door was closed on him and struck his head.

“It caused both his retinas to detach. He was 40 and he underwent one of the first detached retina operations – it was done under local anaesthetic and at the end the nurse whose arms he was holding was black and blue so he must have been in pain.

“At first when they took the bandages off he could see much better than ever but after a couple of weeks his sight was so bad he could hardly see at all.”

His father retrained, learning how to make the big baskets used by the post office and then to make coffins before moving to the Royal School for the Blind in Liverpool where they were taught to work on telephone handsets.

The family had moved to Birkenhead from Shropshire and Philip said: “He actually used his engineering skills to make different shaped dies to help other blind people to work on different parts of the phones.”

It was then that Philip became an apprentice, first at a hair salon in Bold Street, Liverpool, and then in London at the height of the Swinging Sixties.

He said: “I was watching and Vidal Sassoon came on with a lovely girl on each arm. These two women just stood there and shook the beautiful bobs he had created for them and I thought to myself, I would like to do that.”

He worked in a leading salon in Bond Street when London was the fashion capital of the world, gaining management experience, before returning to Shropshire to open his first salon, near his current premises, in Castle Street and has been in the town ever since.

He also plans to sell Sight Loss Shrewsbury Christmas cards and have a collection box for the charity at the Kameo Salon which includes a stylish coffee shop.

Lindsey and Rosy have both had poor eyesight since childhood but both have been registered blind for many years. Lindsey said: “My sight has always been poor but in 2013 it was much worse and I was told they couldn’t do any more for me.

“Rosy and I have had our guide dogs for the last six years and they will be with us for another two years until they are ten but we would always keep them. They’re part of the family.

“They’re quite amazing. You can trust them completely and the new iPhones and computers also make our lives better because you can speak to them – if you’re going to be blind at least it’s better now.”

Robin Durham said: “At Sight Loss Shropshire our role is to help anyone with sight problems and we celebrate our 100th birthday next year and Guide Dogs for the Blind has been going for almost 90 years.

“It’s great to see a successful local business like Kameo supporting us at this time because there are so many people in our area which includes Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin.

“There are about 2,500 registered blind people in the area we cover but I have been told by the specialists at the Hospital Eye Clinics in Shrewsbury and Telford that there are about 10,000 patients with severe sight problems which is a significant number in a population of nearly 500,000.”

For more information about Kameo go to kameosalon.co.uk/ and for more about Sight Loss Shropshire go to sightlossshropshire.org.uk/