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Tribute to Dr Mike Townsend

We are very sorry to share the sad news that Mike Townsend passed away on 28 November 2023. Mike was a TAVIP Trustee for many years, and was a much valued and respected voice in the world of VI technology world. It is evident from the outpouring of memories that he had a very big impact on a great number of people and that he will be hugely missed.

Jeff Bashton, former Chair of TAVIP, would like to share the following:

The standout attributes of Mike, or “The Doctor” as he was affectionately known to some, were his overwhelming sense of confidence and optimism. When planning an initiative or project with him he gave me the feeling that whatever obstacles we encountered they could easily be overcome “it will be alright on the night”.
I have witnessed at first hand how patient and empathetic he could be with blind people seeking his advice. I well remember him at Sight Village when asked about some aspect of a product by one lady he asked the question “yes, but what do you need to do, what are you seeking to achieve ?” He had, what I would call, informed pragmatism. He had a vast knowledge of specialist and mainstream technology which he was always happy to share. He reviewed the offerings from specialist companies who demoed at Sight Village over many years. I, and I am sure many others, valued these as concise, balanced and informative. His advocacy skills were second to none and I well remember him arguing about his entitlement to a complimentary bottle of wine as promised on this hotel’s website. The manager gave in to his request – he was no match for Mike!
Many people have benefitted from his advice over many years, and he formed friendships with people from all walks of life. He will be sorely missed.

We have been capturing the memories that some TAVIP members have shared on the member list, so that we can put these into a TAVIP memory book for his wife Edith and family. If you would like to share a memory and haven’t already done so, you can do that here: link to Microsoft Office forms to share a TAVIP memory

As many of you will know, Mike was also the Chair of Trustees at Torch Trust. Torch released a statement with more details which you may wish to read. We do not yet have details of funeral arrangements, but we will be sure to share these with you as soon as we do. The Torch statement is here: link to Torch Trust statement

All our love and best wishes are with Edith, Mike’s wife, and his daughter and grandchildren at this sad time.