AN inspirational Taunton man who became determined to lead a normal life after starting to lose his sight is one of the stars of a 2014 calendar.

Mike Church, 42, tells the story of how he adapted to becoming visually impaired alongside his photo in the Action for Blind People calendar.

He initially felt isolated and depressed, but after taking part in a Living with Sight Loss course he now goes shopping alone, works out in the gym, plays bowls and plays cricket for Somerset’s visually impaired team.

“If I had to pass on any advice to those losing their sight I’d say ‘don’t let it beat you’,” said Mike.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel – access the support that’s out there as it really can make your quality of life better.

“Without Action for Blind People I don’t know where I’d be.

“The Living with Sight Loss course has given me access to like-minded people going through the same things as me.”

Mike, whose eyesight began to fail after complications with diabetes, wants to complete a 135-mile sponsored walk in Corfu to raise money for Action for Blind People.

His long-term ambition is to become a personal trainer.