Northern Lights festival for the blind in Aberdeen

Norwegian charity is hoping to bring audience as diverse as people with autism, children with special needs and the blind

Helping to bring another Christmas-time phenomenon to northern Europe is a striking annual natural phenomenon, known as the aurora borealis.

The Northern Lights has, for several years, been displayed in the skies above the UK’s fabled Lake District, but come Christmas this year a charity wants to get the most diverse audience of all – the blind.

Glen Abbey, the business support agency at the University of Aberdeen, which has won a £165,000 grant to organise a series of shows of the light show, said the festival was a chance to improve the lives of many.

The charity Scottish Cares is hosting The Lights In Inverkeithing, from 24 to 29 November. The show begins with a live teleconference featuring contributors including the former Paralympic athlete David Weir.

Hannah McNeill, Scottish Cares communications and strategy manager, said: “Glen Abbey is putting on the most spectacular festival of natural light in Scotland this Christmas.

“Not only will people be able to see the lights, but there’s also going to be a show with a message for all of those people who will be disadvantaged because of their impairment.”

Tulsa Sound, the British Library and Edinburgh Zoo have donated gifts and video and audio equipment to Scottish Cares for the festival, including a scarf with a LED light inside, identifying stars, as well as an iPad app.

The Scottish Cares chief executive, Margaret McDaid, said: “Having a festival to tell a different and brilliant story isn’t just important for the excluded but is also vitally important for those at home to engage with new and different things, including you.”

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