Centre renamed in honour of advocate

By Luisa Girao Saturday, 22 July 2023

Blind Low Vision Centre member Elmer Curry, Arthur Cushen’s niece Carol Wilson (centre) and Invercargill Blind Low Vision Centre chairwoman Carolyn Weston during the unveiling ceremony at the newly renamed Arthur Cushen Blind Low Vision Centre in Invercargill on Saturday. PHOTO: LUISA GIRAO

A community centre in Invercargill for people with visual disabilities has been renamed to honour the advocacy of a passionate Southland man.

The Blind Low Vision Centre Invercargill in Queens Dr is now called the Arthur Cushen Blind Low Vision Centre in homage to Mr Cushen, an Invercargill man who spent his life advocating for people with visual disabilities.

A function was held on Saturday to celebrate the occasion. It was attended by members of the centre, Mr Cushen’s family, Invercargill Mayor Nobby Clark, Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds and Invercargill Labour list MP Liz Craig.

Chairwoman Carolyn Weston said Mr Cushen was a blind Southlander who initiated fundraising and advocacy and encouraged others to advocate for a centre for blind people to gather in Invercargill.

He was also called “the world’s only professional DX-er [DX-ing is the hobby of receiving and identifying distant radio or television signals],” after he asked the stations for which he had already been doing monitoring if he could be put on their payroll as a regular staff member.

“One of our members [Elmer Curry] suggested the name change as he knew Arthur quite well.

“Usually, people name a hall or a room after funders but we decided to rename the whole centre in homage of Arthur, who was a blind person who really advocated for this building so I think is quite good.”

Mr Cushen’s niece Carol Wilson was pleased with the gesture and said her uncle would have felt honoured with such a homage.

Mr Cushen died in 1997 after battling cancer.

“I think he would be very humbled and very honoured they have decided to do this for him.

“He advocated strongly for the creation of the centre and he enjoyed coming here and being part of the community so the blind centre was a big part of his life. “

© Otago Daily Times website – July 22, 2023

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