Help veterans like Roger march at the Cenotaph this Remembrance Sunday

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

71-year-old Roger from Barry 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 Roger, to march.

Roger joined the Royal Artillery in 1964 and served in locations including Germany, Malaysia, Borneo and Oman before being demobbed in 1975 as a Bombardier. Roger says: “I enjoyed every minute of my time in Service. I was in charge of the Abbott gun, and I had a team of seven men to help handle it. I also spent time with the Parachute Regiment and learned to jump”.

"Remembrance means a lot to me. It’s a time when I think of the two gunners we lost in Ireland when I was in the Forces. I also think of my parents and my uncle, who was killed in the Second World War."

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.

Roger lost his sight very suddenly due to a brain tumour in 1992. He was in coma for seven weeks and after coming round the doctor told him that he was blind.  Roger says: “When I heard the news I thought my life was over. I honestly wished at that point that they’d left me to die.”

Fortunately, Roger found out about the support of Blind Veterans UK and joined the charity in 1993. He only heard about the charity by chance through a member of his local blind association. Roger says: “Blind Veterans UK has honestly saved my life. The help and the training has given me a purpose and it means I can still live on my own and keep my independence. Despite being blind, I still do my own cooking, cleaning and shopping thanks to the support of the charity.”

Blind Veterans UK has provided Roger with an Orcam, a device which is a miniature smart camera that can read printed text. Alongside this equipment, he also frequently visits the charity’s rehabilitation centres for respite, where he spends time with other blind veterans and relives the camaraderie of his time in Service.

"If it wasn’t for Blind Veterans UK I know I wouldn’t have got this far. When I lost my sight I thought I wouldn’t be able to do anything, but now there’s almost nothing I won’t try!"

You too can make sure Roger 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.