A blind entrepreneur who created a smartphone app to help the visually impaired be more independent has been selected by Sir Richard Branson to help promote the use of technology to improve the lives of disabled people.

Chris Telesford, 33, of Lancaster Road in Highams Hill, Walthamstow, is the managing director of AME Communicate.

Mr Telesford, who was born with a condition known as bilateral coloboma, created the app as he was determined to live an independent life. 

The technology allows users to take pictures of documents and written information they find difficult to read and modify the text by changing the font size and colour, underlining particular sections and altering the layout of a page.

The text can also be read back to the user through a speaker.

Since its launch in February, the controls have been enhanced to allow more functions.

The company has now been chosen by a panel including Sir Richard Branson to help promote the technology within the NHS and the healthcare industry.

 Mr Telesford said: "The sheer fact AME was chosen is a great honour and feels like we're starting to be recognised as a reputable company.

“The work we do is not for money, but helping to change and improve lives.  

"The app is about making giving people the independence they never had by making technology accessible to people with disabilities. 

"We're already in talks with visual impairment departments within the NHS and we hope it will be a lead product across all sectors in the coming months.  

Mr Telesford will receive advise, support, and mentoring from Virgin Media to help him expand the app’s use. 

For more on this story, see the Waltham Forest Guardian - out Thursday