Congratulations to Blind Veterans UK's Llandudno centre who celebrated its one year anniversary last week.
In the past year, our blind veterans at the Llandudno centre have been given the chance to take part in some exciting activities. One of our favourite memories was when blind veterans took part in the strenuous trek to the top of Wales' highest peak, Mount Snowdon, and had a tea party at its summit as part of the Tarts for Troops fundraising campaign in May. Other highlights include a fishing trip that saw members gain experience of fishing which was, for most of them, the first time they had fished since suffering from sight loss and vision impairment.
Other perks our Blind Veterans UK members have enjoyed are visits from Downtown Abbey star Lachlan Nieboer, a local school choir, the Military Wives Choir and a host of MPs, as well as a fantastic balloon releases day to mark World Sight Day, an annual day which aims to raise awareness about blindness and vision impairment.
Mark Lovatt, Llandudno's Centre Manager, sat down with us and reflected on some of the highlights of the centre's first year.
He said: "We have had an incredibly busy and eventful first year, which we have all loved every minute of. From the outset we decided to follow a 'can-do' philosophy - the idea that anything is possible, no matter what it is that our members would like try out or are hoping to achieve".
"A good example is one of our members, Keith Roberts, who was initially very immobile and used to find it difficult walking up the hill to the centre. We decided it would be good to get him in the gym, to start building up his strength slowly. He has come such a long way and I now see him using a treadmill for exercise. It is amazing".
"Also we have been extremely grateful for the support we have received from the local community which has included the help of many volunteers as well as students from local educational organisations".
All of us here at Blind Veterans UK want to say a big thank you to all our members, staff, volunteers and local communities for making the Llandudno centre the success that it is.