Grateful patient to perform a thank you for Colchester Hospital team who saved his sight

A writer and musician who nearly went blind after suffering a series of serious eye complications is to perform a special gig to thank the specialists at Colchester Hospital who saved his sight.

Martin Newell will take to the stage at Colchester Arts Centre on Sunday 17 June to raise money for the ophthalmology team, who he credits with helping give him to back his life following five years of eye problems.

The afternoon event, called “Eye Tunes”, will see the 65-year-old perform every song from his classic album The Greatest Living Englishman for the first and only time, along with 12 tracks from his other albums and some of his own poetry.

The gig will also be filmed for an upcoming documentary, with all proceeds going to the ophthalmology service, which is currently based at Essex County Hospital but will move to the Primary Care Centre, next to Colchester general hospital, in the autumn.

“I first experienced problems in December 2012, and since then have had a complex glaucoma, a detached retina, a torn retina and two cataracts, as well as new lenses in both eyes,” said Mr Newell, who writes for several national and regional newspapers.

“I’m in no doubt that the specialists in Colchester saved my sight – at one point I was facing blindness and was finding it difficult to read, which was incredibly difficult in my job as a writer. I would carry a magnifying glass around my neck and wear specs, but still needed bright lights to help me work.

“I’d reached rock bottom and was on the verge of clinical depression. The eye team then swung into action and placed an implant in my eye, and I knew then that everything was going to start coming good.

“After that operation, I remember looking into the kitchen and seeing things I’d not seen for years, such as the writing on the front of the washing machine. Everything was so much brighter and that eye is now actually better than the one I was born with.

“I wanted to do something practical to thank the team, raise some money for future patients and also raise awareness of the work they do, as they really do bail people out. I really hope that everyone who comes along enjoys the gig.”

Mr Chrysostomos Dimitriou, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at the hospital, said: “We are very grateful to Martin for choosing to support the ophthalmology department with this fantastic fundraising concert, and are really pleased that he is so happy with the care he received.”

Eye Tunes takes place at Colchester Arts Centre on Sunday 17 June at 2pm, with tickets priced at £10 or £8 for concessions. For more information or to book, visit or call 01206 827845.