Great British Bake Off star helps Essex woman achieve first item of bucket list before she loses sight
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A Great British Bake Off fan who is losing her sight baked a cake with one of the show’s finalists.
This was the first item on her bucket list of things to do before she stops being able to see – a master class with a master baker.
Sam Tracey, 46, a trustee of the Saffron Walden-based charity Support 4 Sight which helps people with poor vision or none, baked bread and turned out a chocolate orange gateaux with Ian Cumming at his home in Wilbraham.
The photographer who has worked for the Dalai Lama, and dad of two children was in the Bake Off final with winner Nadiya Hussain and fellow contestant Tamal Ray.
Sam said: “I had a fantastic day. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet someone so friendly and calm. He is so patient and very laid back.”
Sam sat at Ian’s kitchen table and asked him about what it was like to be a contestant on bake-off. “He said they started filming at six in the morning until 7pm. They didn’t see Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood until later on but Mel and Sue were fantastic, they really kept people’s spirits up. He said there was a great bunch of contestants.”
Sam, from Great Leighs, near Chelmsford has a genetic condition called Marfans Syndrome. Her eyesight began to deteriorate when she was 25. She was registered blind in 2012. She has had 18 operations on her eyes, including two a few weeks ago, after which her surgeon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge said her sight was failing and would not improve. She has two sons aged 20 and 18 who have inherited the condition.
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She said: “When you lose your sight, you lose a lot of your hobbies. It’s not easy to pop to shops or get on a bus.
“From our village there is only one bus which goes one way and one the other so I couldn’t get on the wrong one, but now I can’t see to cross the road to get on the bus. I wanted to create a list of things to do to keep my drive.
But as an active member of Support 4 Sight, Sam continues to go with sighted volunteers to visit people in their homes to give advice. She also organises coffee mornings, helps with raising awareness about the charity and goes to eye-clinics in hospitals.
She said: “When you have been recently diagnosed, it can be devastating. You may need advice on other ways to do things like cooking and I give people tips on that.
“I used to go to concerts and the theatre and festivals. I have got used to just listening in the cinema with audio description, you have to go with it or lose out.”
Sam’s day with Bake-Off’s Ian was organised by the administrator at Support for Sight, Natalie Emuss who met him at the launch of the new Addenbrooke’s ultra sound breast scanner in October.
Sam is set to get another wish – to appear on stage.
Support 4 Sight’s community support worker, Vanessa Cowell has arranged for her to take part in Beauty and the Beast, this year’s pantomime at Saffron Walden Town Hall. Look out for Sam in the matinee on Saturday, January 23.