Stuart McArthur, campaigner for the blind

Stuart McArthur co-founded Calderdale Talking Newspaper in 1979
Stuart McArthur co-founded Calderdale Talking Newspaper in 1979
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Stuart McArthur, who has died at 76, was a Freeman of the West Riding district of Calderdale, and one of the founders of its Talking Newspaper.

Born in Halifax – he claimed in the middle of snowstorm on Boothtown Road – he was an optimist determined to make the best of life, despite the congenital and deteriorating blindness that necessitated the patch over his left eye.

It was that condition which led him, in 1979, to co-found the talking paper that is now one of the biggest of its kind in the world.

He had gone to Holy Trinity School in Halifax, and become an engineer at Pratt Precision Hydraulics until his sight began to fail at around 30.

Turning his attention to amateur radio, where he used the call sign Captain Pugwash, he also became an active member of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes and was much involved with the Halifax Society for the Blind, serving on its finance committee and helping arrange holidays at its holiday home in Fleetwood.

He had been in his younger days a cyclist and a keen boxer, representing Halifax in inter-town tournaments.

He was also a proud E-type Jaguar owner and club member, even though he could not drive it himself.

He married Jill in 1979 and having taken a decision not to have children and risk passing on the gene which had affected several members of his family, he devoted himself to helping children who had lost their sight, raising understanding about blindness by visiting schools with his guide dog, and speaking to sighted children.

His Freedom of the borough, in 2000, came in recognition of his services to blind people.