Blind Gorleston woman subjected to abuse in new home town

10:32 07 February 2014

Siobhan Meade with her guide dog Mac.

Picture: James Bass

Siobhan Meade with her guide dog Mac. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A blind Gorleston woman says she has been repeatedly subjected to abuse since moving away from the coast.


Mercury columnist Siobhan Meade, who is registered blind and uses a guide dog, said there has been a “huge difference” in how she is treated since she moved to Stevenage in Hertfordshire two months ago.

The 30-year-old freelance journalist, who moved at the end of November, said she has experienced abuse – including swearing and intimidation – every other week while out walking with guide dog Mac, with the majority of incidents taking place in Stevenage town centre.

Siobhan said she had been insulted and taunted, as well as attempts made to make her walk into lampposts.

Last month a group of youths tried to obstruct her while recording video footage which they said would be uploaded onto video sharing website YouTube.

“I’ve noticed a huge difference since moving from Great Yarmouth,” said Siobhan, who was born partially sighted but lost her remaining vision at the age of 16.

“Where I lived in Gorleston was a very small community where the majority were really quite respectful and helpful. I never had a problem.

“Since coming to Stevenage there’s been so many occasions of abuse – verbally and through intimidation.

“I am quite a calm person at the best of times so I just ask them ‘why did you do that?’.

“It’s about educating people. I’m not easily intimidated but it could make partially sighted people or disabled people more generally too scared to leave their own home.

“The majority of people in Stevenage are hardworking and decent but there are a few that give it a bad name and help create a reputation it doesn’t deserve.”

Siobhan said in the majority of cases members of the public have not intervened, and although understanding why people “don’t want to be involved in confrontation”, she believes that, in order for such abuse to be stamped out, others must take a stand.

“If people see something they could provide important evidence to police which we can’t provide ourselves,” she added.



  • this news does not surprise me in the least,stevenage is horrible,i would'nt want to live there,lets hope she does'nt decide to move to st albans,cos that is horrible too. she would be better moving backk to gorleston pronto !!

    Report this comment


    Sunday, February 9, 2014

  • I use to pick this lady up with her dog on the local bus services She is a very nice lady and always gives the driver respect it's a shame that there are narrow minded people out there, ask yourself how would you are missed buy your friends in Gorleston..

    Report this comment

    Kevin Clark

    Saturday, February 8, 2014

  • Cowardly little scrotes. Just shows what the difference in communities between a small coastal town and some horrible concrete blot such as Stevenage.

    Report this comment


    Friday, February 7, 2014

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