A blind World War Two veteran who was instrumental in bringing Nazi war criminals to justice is to become the face of a charity poster campaign to reach out to more blind veterans.
The No One Alone campaign launched by Blind Veterans UK, aims to reach out to the estimated 68,000 plus blind veterans who could be eligible for the charity's free and lifelong support but do not know that it exists.
Blind Veterans UK transformed blind veteran Bob Early's life after he joined the charity when his sight started to fail. As a thank you for the support he has received, Bob agreed to front the poster phase of the campaign.
The 99-year-old from Reading, Berkshire, joined the General Service Corps in December 1942, and upon completion of his training joined the Royal Artillery, specialising as a signaller. Bob then joined the 6th Field Regiment, serving in the UK and Germany, and it was whilst he was in the latter that he was involved in a covert operation in which he successfully identified a Nazi war criminal, who was later tried and found guilty at the Nuremburg trials.
What's more, Bob went on to live as rich a life after his time in service. Whilst working behind the scenes at the BBC in 1955 he was commended for creating a model using different coloured balls which was used as the very first physical representation of the results of the general election of that year, which was televised for the first time. Bob has also written three books about his personal experiences during the war.
Bob lost his sight as a result of age related macular degeneration. As a veteran he was eligible to join Blind Veterans UK, which provides support, rehabilitation, training and recreation to blind veterans, regardless of when they served or how they lost their sight. Blind Veterans UK, which was founded in 1915, launched the No One Alone campaign last October which aims to reach out to the estimated 68,000 plus blind veterans who could be eligible for its support but do not know about it.
Bob said: "Blind Veterans UK have been just brilliant to me. I think that the name No One Alone is a very good one for this campaign, because when I lost my sight, though I had a very supportive family, I still did feel that I was on my own.
"But Blind Veterans UK made all the difference. When I went for my first week I was just amazed by what I saw. All of the staff there were extremely caring, the rooms were as good as you would find in a 5 star hotel, and the food, well, everyone talks about how good the food there is!.
"They showed me so many useful gadgets which can aide you with your sight loss. Not only does Blind Veterans UK tell you about these things, but they provide them to you for free, and teach you how to use them and other new skills too. They taught me how to use a computer at the age of 93, which I would never have imagined. They told me I was not too old to try it and they were right!".
Blind Veterans UK's No One Alone campaign aims to reach out to the estimated 68,000 plus ex-Service personnel who could be benefiting from the charity's services but they either do not know about the charity or they do not know that they are eligible for its services. The national billboard and poster advertising campaign will begin on Monday 21 October 2013, targeting areas with an old age population.
If you are or know of a veteran with vision impairment, go to: www.noonealone.org.uk or telephone: 0800 389 7979.