Blind Veterans UK is founded by Sir Arthur Pearson as the Blinded Soldiers' and Sailors' Care Committee. We provide training, rehabilitation and lifelong support to those blinded in the First World War. After a short spell in Bayswater Road, London we are based in Regent’s Park.
Ian Fraser, who had been blinded at the Somme, is placed in charge of our After-Care work. Now known as Community Support, this department continues to provide lifelong support and assistance for all our blind veterans following their initial training and rehabilitation activities.
We hold our first reunion meeting of blind veterans who have completed their training and left Regent’s Park. This takes place in Bristol, and is followed by many more throughout the country. We have held reunion meetings ever since.
Sir Arthur Pearson dies, aged only 55. Ian Fraser takes over as Chairman, a position he holds for 53 years. Pearson’s funeral service and burial are attended by thousands of people, including blind veterans who he had helped and inspired.
We formally adopt the name by which we have been generally known since our early days in Regent’s Park, officially becoming St Dunstan's.
Our training and rehabilitation activities transfer from Regent's Park to our West House centre in Brighton, although our administrative headquarters remains in London.
Working together with the National Institute of Blind People (now the RNIB) we establish the Talking Book library.
We open a new, groundbreaking purpose-built centre at Ovingdean, Brighton. This provides training and rehabilitation activities, convalescent care and holiday breaks for our blind veterans. The centre continues its work to this day.
We move our training and rehabilitation work from Brighton to Church Stretton in Shropshire for the remainder of the war. 700 men and women are trained here, many learning new manufacturing skills to enable them to go on to factory work.
We leave Church Stretton and return to Brighton.
Our administrative headquarters moves to 191 Old Marylebone Road, London.
Her Majesty the Queen becomes our Patron. This role was initially taken on by her great-grandmother Queen Alexandra soon after we were founded.
We collaborate with institutions in the United States on the development of the new ‘long cane’ walking stick and with the RNIB on its introduction in this country
Tony Parkinson and Ray Peart are the first of our blind veterans to compete in the Paralympic Games (then known as the 'Olympiad for the Physically Disabled'), held in Toronto, Canada.
Together with the RNIB, we evaluate the Kurzweil - the first reading machine to instantly convert print into speech.
We move headquarters to our current location in Harcourt Street, London.
HM The Queen visits our Brighton centre to open the new South Wing. This provides additional facilities and extra accommodation for our blind veterans and their partners.
We change our constitution, expanding to allow all veterans who have lost their sight to join us, irrespective of when and how this occurred.
Ray Hazan, who was blinded whilst serving in Northern Ireland, is elected as our President. In 2012, Ray was awarded the OBE for his services to the blind ex-service community.
Henry Allingham, the world's oldest man, who had joined us in 2005, dies peacefully at our Brighton centre at the age of 113. The funeral is held with full military honours at St Nicholas Church, Brighton.
We open another new centre, at Llandudno in north Wales.
We change name to Blind Veterans UK, to help more people understand who we are and what we do.
We celebrate our 100th anniversary with special events including a Buckingham Palace Garden Party and a service at Westminster Abbey
Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex GCVO became our new Patron, as Her Royal Majesty The Queen stepped down. Her first act as Patron was to open our Life Skills building in Llandudno.
The charity launches a new strategy, moving to a new model which includes the provision of enhanced help and support for our blind veterans in their own community.
Ray Hazan OBE steps down as President after 13 years. Blind veteran Colin Williamson becomes the sixth Blind Veterans UK President.
The charity once again takes a step into research, to help our veterans in the future. We are now running exciting projects in the areas of biomedical research, social and welfare research and innovations.
Founder of Blind Veterans UK, Sir Arthur Pearson, received an English Heritage Blue Plaque at 21 Portland Place in London where he used to live.