Help veterans like Dave march at the Cenotaph this Remembrance Sunday

Local veteran Dave is getting set to march at the Cenotaph in London with more than 100 other of his blind veteran comrades.

66-year-old Dave from Brighton is being supported to do this by his local Specsavers stores. The stores are raising money from 6 – 12 November to send blind veterans, including Dave to march. 

Dave comes from an extended military family, with two of his brothers and three of his uncles also serving. Dave joined the Army, initially serving from 1968-74 in the Royal Transport Corps and then in the Royal Military Police. He was aware that it was perhaps not the most popular regiment with the rest of the army, but it led to lots of interesting experiences, particularly with providing protection for the Royal Family. He particularly enjoyed providing security for the Trooping the Colour ceremony and standing about 50ft away from the Queen.

After finishing Service as a Corporal, Dave later became a nurse and also worked for Southern Rail.

"It fills me with so much pride that this year, for the first time, I’ll be experiencing Remembrance Sunday alongside other blind veterans. However we lose our sight, we are part of one Service family. This is a way of honouring comrades and other “family” members"

Specsavers stores are helping get blind veterans to the march

Specsavers has supported Blind Veterans UK since 2012 and, as well as raising money for our charity, has referred a number of customers so they too can access our support.

This support is crucial.

It wasn’t until many years later that he lost his sight due to glaucoma in 2011. He also has diabetes, which Dave thinks was a contributory factor with the sight loss. Dave says: “Losing my sight was daunting, because you only have one set of eyes.  I struggle to recognise people and just see shapes and colours rather than detail.”

As well as regularly visiting the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton, Dave has borrowed a computer with supernova and voice recognition which allows him to continue his role as treasurer of his local regimental association – he uses the computer for all accounting purposes and to keep in touch with friends and family via social media.

Besides all the practical support, Dave has had chance to take part in lots of different activities through the charity, from learning to swim for the first time to building a mosaic table and getting involved in different arts and crafts classes. Dave said: “I didn’t think in a million years I’d get involved with making a mosaic table, it’s something that was previously totally out of my comfort zone, but I absolutely love it!.”

 

"Blind Veterans UK has done so much for me and provided me with so much equipment such as a computer and magnifiers. They also visited me in my home when my kitchen was being redone to help out with lighting and other suggestions for safe use of appliances."

You too can make sure Dave and other veteran heroes get to the Cenotaph

Book an eye test at your local Specsavers in the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday or pop by and add loose change into their donation buckets. You might even be able to get involved with an in-store event. Call your local store or ask in store for more details.

Your support means that we can cover the costs of sending our veterans to Remembrance Sunday. 

From transport, to providing wheelchairs for those of our veterans who are less mobile and even hosting a lunch after the ceremony. Thank you for enabling blind veterans from across the country to meet, share their stories and support one another.

 

"Remembrance Sunday is always a very poignant time for our blind veterans and it is fantastic that Specsavers are able to support them to march at the Cenotaph."
Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin

Blind Veterans UK is the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women, providing vital practical and emotional support to help veterans discover life beyond sight loss.

Today, Blind Veterans UK supports more blind and vision-impaired veterans than ever before in the charity’s history and we have set an ambitious target to double the number of veterans we support in the next five years.

The charity estimates that there are currently 59,000 blind veterans that would be eligible to access our specialist support, most of whom are not currently aware of it.