THE visually impaired lead singer of a Bridport-based band has told how his sight loss doesn’t hold him back.

Steve Evans, who lives near Eype, has been recently selected as the lead vocalist for East Street Band, a blues and Americana group.

The 60-year-old has just 4.5 to 5 per cent vision peripherally and needs some help getting to and from the floor area at the band’s gigs, but says singing completely transports him.

His first gig with the band was last week at a packed-out Anchor Inn in Burton Bradstock.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Steve singing with East Street band at their first gig Steve singing with East Street band at their first gig (Image: Supplied)

Tribunals judge Steve learns all of the music lyrics verbatim as he can’t read.

“I never tell people I am visually impaired,” he said.

“I think some of the audience would be amazed to find out. People expect you to be using a stick and to have a dog with you.”

Welshman Steve developed Stargardt disease – an eye disease that causes vision loss - when he was in his late 20s.

At the time the former Surrey resident was in the Met Police but could no longer continue in the force. Changing direction, he went to night school and then studied at Brunel University to become a physiotherapist.

Before experiencing sight loss Steve loved playing rugby. Although he has had to give the sport up, his dual life-long passion of music is something he has been able to continue.

He and his wife moved to Dorset four years ago, where Steve began singing with local shanty band the Bridport Broadsides.

“I had to let them know that I couldn’t read," he said. "I can’t sit with crib notes in front of me. For me the tough thing is learning every song verbatim.”

Steve learnt four principal shanty songs and 44 he could sing along with everyone on the chorus.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Steve pictured with East Street Band Steve pictured with East Street Band (Image: Supplied)

He was singing with the Broadsides one evening when he was approached by a member of East Street Band and was asked to be their vocalist.

Steve took up the challenge of learning 26 songs verbatim and now regularly rehearses and performs with the band.

“I really felt the nerves for the first gig,” he said. “My wife and her friends were there and the whole place was rammed.

“It went really well and at the end of one song it was very hushed. And that’s when I knew everyone was listening.”

Steve is now busily learning more songs for the band’s next gig in Bucky Doo Square, Bridport, on July 13 at 10am.

East Street Band’s David Greenshields said selecting Steve as the new singer was down to his ‘amazing voice and not through any act of altruism on our part’.

Steve hopes that he can inspire other people in similar situations to pursue their passions.

“Singing is good for the soul,” he said. “You get such a lift from it and I would urge people to sing as much as they can.”