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Blind young thing on a winning streak

(Photograph) - When documentary makers came to film teenagers at the country's largest college for the blind, Steve Markham, a student and songwriter, had a novel way of showing what life was like for him, writes Joseph Lee.

Steve, who has been blind since birth, challenged the director, Zac Beattie, to play him at pool and won. Even playing a simplified version of the game, designed for blind people, the director was surprised to be beaten by someone who can hardly see if it is light or dark.

The 18-year-old is one of three students featured in the documentary, Blind Young Things, which was broadcast on Channel 4 on Monday.

The programme followed their education at the residential Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford.

After picking up 11 GCSEs at A* to C, Steve is studying a level 3 (A-level equivalent) Btec in performing arts, and hopes to go to university to train as a teacher in drama or English.

He plays guitar and piano and is filmed improvising songs about college life in the documentary.

Things have been improving for Steve, who admits he was once suspended for fighting.

He said: "If I'm thinking something, 99 per cent of the time I'll say it.

That's not always the best policy.

"But since Christmas, I haven't been in much trouble and I've been attending lectures.

"If the film gives people more idea what it's really like for blind people, that would be great. "That's what we always wanted to do."

Photograph: Stephen Shepherd

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