Belfast Telegraph

Maghaberry prisoners produce Braille books to assist blind schoolgirl Eryn

Eryn Kirkpatrick with mum Evanna (left), Fivemiletown Primary School Principal Melanie Houston (right) and Maghaberry governor David Kennedy
Eryn Kirkpatrick with mum Evanna (left), Fivemiletown Primary School Principal Melanie Houston (right) and Maghaberry governor David Kennedy

By Staff Reporter

Prisoners from Maghaberry have produced 100 books in Braille to help a blind schoolgirl with her classroom studies.

Eight-year-old Eryn Kirkpatrick was born with the rare condition Septo-optic dysplasia which has left her completely blind and also affects her growth.

But with the support of Maghaberry Prison's Braille unit, the plucky youngster is enjoying lessons at Fivemiletown Primary School in Co Tyrone like any other child of her age.

The prisoners have now produced 100 books in Braille to assist little Eryn with her schoolwork, including reading books, maths and English text and exercise books.

Eryn's mum Evanna said: "I am delighted with the progress that Eryn has made at school and the availability of a range of books from the Braille unit, including books for over the summer holidays. The books have meant that Eryn has had access to a great range of well-presented Braille reading material."

Darren Otley, who runs the prison unit, said: "When I learned about Eryn I just knew I had to support her. Straight away the men in the Braille unit set to work and over the past two years we have supplied all of the books Eryn has required.

"For the men it's about giving something back to the community. They are all passionate about the work they are doing and especially knowing that they are able to help a young child. We are just delighted to have been able to help little Eryn."

Fivemiletown Primary School Principal Melanie Houston welcomed the support of the Braille unit.

"The quality and range of books provided by Maghaberry Prison's Braille unit has added a breadth of reading material for Eryn which span the areas of learning and which otherwise would not have been available."

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