Simon Pauley

Simon was born in Nottingham to mum and dad, Sheila and John, and he has two older sisters, Janet and Eileen. He moved to Scotland with his family in 1969 when he was five. At the age of 15, Simon started sensing blind spots in his vision, believing it to be migraine at first.

On further investigation, Simon was told he had Stargardt's Macular Dystrophy, a form of macular degeneration. It was thought that he would go blind within a year of the diagnosis. His parents were devastated and because the doctors could offer no help, Simon's Dad travelled all over trying to find a therapy that might help. Simon recalls: "I don't know if any of these therapies helped, but I do know that the deterioration slowed down markedly. I now realise that the majority of people I meet with the same eye disease as me seem to have had more severe sight problems at an earlier age."  

"All through my life I had loved radio, but never thought that I'd be able to get involved with it myself. RNIB Connect Radio encouraged me to take my first steps as a presenter and I discovered I had 'a new tune' to sing"

Simon is a keen musician and says of his early education, "At school I was an average student but I always had a keen interest in music. I'll never forget the day when I was 15 years old that my Dad gave me the keys to the boot of the car. There, I found a brand new tenor saxophone, which I have played with gusto ever since -  well, at least until it fell apart during a gig!" 

After leaving school, Simon had a number of jobs including a stint as an electronics test technician and as a wall cavity insulation engineer. When he was 19, he started his own business in industrial cleaning which he ran until his deteriorating sight caused him to give the business up in 2004.  

At this time, Simon hit rock bottom - homeless, with no money or benefits, and wondering what he would do with the rest of his life. He believed that nothing was fun or worth doing anymore. That's when he stumbled upon RNIB Connect Radio - then known as Insight Radio.  

Simon says, "All through my life I had loved radio, but never thought that I'd be able to get involved with it myself. RNIB Connect Radio encouraged me to take my first steps as a presenter and I discovered that I had 'a new tune' to sing - I actually call this my second life!" 

Over the past few years, Simon has been gradually getting his life back, helped by the fact that he really enjoys producing and presenting a radio show. He says: "I feel so privileged to have been able to talk with so many people who have inspired me with their life stories, showing me that there is almost nothing you can't do if you really want to. You just have to find a way."  

In his spare time, Simon is back on the road with his music again, playing saxophone and gigging with his bands.

Simon wants to carry on with his career in radio. He says, "I don't have a plan for the rest of my life, I just want to keep on learning, meeting new people, playing music and having fun - quite simple really!"

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