William Moon went blind at the age of 21, after a bout of scarlet fever, but it didn't stop him from becoming an inspirational inventor, teacher and missionary.

He learned to use Braille but found it complicated so he developed his own system that was easier to read for those who, like him, had become blind later in life.

His moon-type embossed printing made a huge impact and was adapted into 223 foreign languages.

In 1860, William set up a school, then a workshop for blind people, enabling them to earn a living and achieve a degree of independence.

It became known as the Brighton Society For The Blind.

William's legacy lives on and the charity has evolved to help not only those who are blind or partially sighted but people with other physical disabilities, too.

Renamed Sussex Lantern, it provides a range of community services, such as arts and crafts, and an integrated nursery for children irrespective of any disability as well as specialised educational and IT training to help people find work.

Sussex Lantern also has comprehensive health facilities. Karen Velasquez, the charity's fund-raiser, gave me a tour of the centre and showed me the large hydrotherapy pool and the infra red and UV treatment rooms.

Also on offer are reflexology and Dead Sea spa treatments to ease aches and pains and relax the mind.

I was particularly struck by the dedication of the staff, willing to give that little bit extra and provide emotional support and motivation to all their members.

Karen confirmed this by saying how she "loved working in this place".

Heather Moore, the manager of the centre, has great plans for the future of Sussex Lantern.

She aims to provide the best health facilities in Sussex for those with mobility and other health problems.

Of major importance to her is raising awareness about the benefits that simple diet and lifestyle changes can bring.

She finds many people are not aware that drug-free approaches to their particular health problem exist, relying solely on medication to relieve their symptoms.

Heather is keen to make advice and information about alternative healthcare available to people with disabilities and has organised a series of talks at the charity's headquarters in Hollingdean, Brighton.

Dr Paul Layman and other practitioners from the Foundation Of Natural Health have been invited to give a series of talks on the impact of nutrition and natural health remedies.

The first of these takes place on Tuesday, April 22, and deals with female health issues such as pre-menstrual tension and natural alternatives to HRT.

Dr Layman will also be talking about the non-invasive management of cancer. Topics for future talks will include arthritis, osteoporosis, ME and multiple sclerosis.

The talks starts at 11am with an entrance fee of £2, which includes a light lunch and refreshments.

If you would like to find out more about the presentations or book a place, contact Karen at Sussex Lantern, William Moon Lodge, The Linkway, Brighton BN1 7EJ.

You can also call 01273 507251 or visit www.bsblind.co.uk
Martina is a qualified nutritionist at the Crescent Clinic of Complementary Medicine, 37 Vernon Terrace, Brighton. Tel: 01273 202221 or email: martina@thehealthbank.co.uk