South African optometrist, Kathy Winter, has been on several missions into Africa to provide free eye care to the needy with Mission for Vision, which was the brain child of Ian Squire, an optician from Shepperton, UK. On 14th October, Ian Squire was shot dead after having been taken hostage with missionaries David and Shirley Donovan and optometrist Alanna Carson in the Southern Delta region of Nigeria.
Kathy relates the story: “He was setting up a clinic in the Niger Delta and had taken equipment donated by Boots on row boats to a remote area where he wanted to train locals to help each other as well. I turned down this last trip, as I have poor teaching skills, but said if he didn’t find an optometrist, I would step in. He found a twenty-five-year-old Irish optometrist Alanna Carson, to do the trip, and I felt terrible that she suffered so terribly in my place.”
Ian Squire 57, was killed by a salvo of shots fired by one of the gunmen who abducted the four-strong missionary group from their clinic on 13th October. This happened as he stood up after playing Amazing Grace on his guitar.
Ian was a man of faith, humour, music and invention” Dr Donovan said.
Kathy paid tribute to Ian Squire: “He was a generous, selfless and brave man who helped thousands of people to see.”
After three weeks, the hostages were freed after the kidnappers told them a ransom from the Nigerian Government had been paid. The gang blindfolded them and dropped them at a rendezvous where two SUV’s were waiting with a Nigerian army escort.
We share Kathy’s grief, having lost a dear friend, but we are very happy that she escaped the ordeal herself.