PARENTS and friends of students at the Royal National College for the Blind found the recipe for an exceptional evening at the college's annual Dine in the Dark event.

A large group of people enjoyed a complete feast for their senses as they were given the opportunity of putting on a blindfold to eat their meal in complete darkness.

To add to the experience, all the waiting staff are blind or partially sighted students from the college.

For some of the diners, the whole experience was quite overwhelming.

"My son is a student at the college and has been blind from birth," said one guest. "I found it quite intense being put in his shoes and having to do something he does as an everyday activity.

"I can now understand why he prefers to eat with his fingers."

The fundraising event is to support the language department with overseas trips for the students.

For many students at the college it is their first opportunity to go overseas.

First year student Abdul, who was one of the students waiting tables, said: "I wasn’t allowed to go on school trips in my old school, and the only time I have been on holiday is with my parents.

"Being at the college gives me the opportunity to go on a trip with friends and just be and do normal things."

"Last year more than 25 students benefited from the fundraising efforts of this event and we hope we can increase the number," said Spanish teacher Lisa Roberts.

"The trips are so beneficial to the students.

"They give them a real life opportunity to speak the language, eat the cuisine, visit the local attractions to navigate their way around a busy airport and use public transport in other language.

"These are life experiences that our students do not shy away from."