Help veterans like Ralph march at the Cenotaph this Remembrance Sunday

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

82-year-old Ralph from Welwyn Garden City 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 Ralph, to march.

Ralph joined the Army as part of his National Service in 1953. He served with the Royal Signals as a Wireless Operator and Drill Instructor based in Catterick. He left the Army as a Corporal.

He says: “I look back on it very fondly. When you’re doing National Service you can’t wait to get home, but when you’re back you can’t wait to get back to the barracks!”

"I’ve been to my local Cenotaph quite a few times but never to London before. I will be proud to be there with Blind Veterans UK and will think about my grandad who died of his wounds in the First World War as well as all those that have died in Service."

Specsavers stores are helping get our 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.

Ralph lost his sight much later in life due to glaucoma in 2012. He says: “I’ve lost about 85 per cent of my vision. I can see things but it’s like a cloud and I can't read anymore. I try to remain as positive and independent as possible, it’s about determination.”

He started to receive support from Blind Veterans UK in 2016 after learning about the charity through the RNIB.  Ralph says: “Since losing my sight I hadn’t been happy outside of my home for a long time, but the cahrity made me feel like a human being again. Last time I was there I met a lovely couple from Birmingham and we’re still in touch.”

As well as enjoying visiting the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton, Ralph has also been provided with equipment to allow him to continue to live independently at home. He says: “The equipment is great. I use talking books, a magnifier, a talking microwave and a beeper which allows you to make your tea!”

"Being able to read again is fantastic and makes a huge difference to your independence. I’ve now set my sights on trying to learn to fish again and I’m about to go for a Driving Week which will be great."

You too can make sure Ralph and other veterans 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.