Blind woman is new president of Toastmasters International branch

Fern is pictured with her new guide dog Nancy
Fern is pictured with her new guide dog Nancy

A blind inspirational speaker from Hastings has been elected president of a branch of Toastmasters International.

Twenty-eight-year-old Fern Lulham is registered blind and has recently been given her first guide dog Nancy.

Fern says she has never let her sight loss hold her back and she was recently elected as president of Eastbourne Speakers.

“I joined Eastbourne Speakers about two years ago,” she said.

“I was given a warm welcome and have gained valuable experience in public speaking. The members of the group come from all walks of life, including show business, with one of our most experienced speakers being Dec Cluskey from The Bachelors singing group. It was an honour for me to be elected as the president of Eastbourne Speakers. The group is always ready to welcome new members.

“Public speaking is an increasingly valuable skill to have and the Toastmasters’ Pathways programme covers all aspects of communication that can be useful in employment and personal life.”

After leaving school at Helenswood Secondary School, Fern studied at university in North Carolina USA for three years, even though she only took a one year exchange programme as she decided to transfer to Western Carolina University to complete her course and graduated with a BSc in communication.

Since returning to Hastings, Fern has started working as a motivational and educational speaker, who trains, inspires and coaches others to live what she calls a more fulfilling, confident and happy life.

She said, “I have come up against a number of challenges throughout life and am constantly accepting and overcoming new ones thereby gaining a deeper understanding of people and of what makes them tick. Believing strongly in the idea that our emotions unite us, no matter what differences there appear to be on the surface, I encourage others to dig deep and explore themselves and those around them in new and empowering ways. This can allow people to form unique bonds with others and to see life through the eyes of those they never thought they could truly understand.”