Bake Off star gives our blind veterans a reason to be cheerful on ‘Blue Monday’

17 January 2018 13:00

Sophie Faldo, winner of The Great British Bake Off 2017, surprised blind veterans with a cake and video message at a tea party hosted by us on ‘Blue Monday’ (15 January).

Group photo of Blind Veterans UK Blue Monday event in London
Recreating the atmosphere of The Great British Bake Off with our blind veterans.
We organised the tea party at our London office to give our beneficiaries a smile on a day hailed as ‘the most depressing of the year’.

Sophie, a former Officer in the Royal Artillery and now a Reservist, baked a fondant cake for the event and recorded a video message for blind veterans in which she spoke of her own time in the Army. Sophie says:
"It was a pleasure to bake a cake for blind veterans to enjoy together on ‘Blue Monday’. Serving in the Army myself, I know how important it is to have the support of your peers and that feeling of camaraderie that comes from being together in the Armed Forces."
Photo of British bake Off winner Sophie Faldo with the logo cake she made for Blind Veterans UK
Sophie baked a beautiful fondant cake in our charity colours.

She continues: “It’s fantastic to see the impact of social events such as this one. Blind Veterans UK offers a lifeline to vision-impaired veterans and today is all about helping them enjoy good company, and, of course, delicious cake!”

We conducted research into veterans’ social isolation which highlights the importance of these social events. The survey conducted by the charity found that 61 per cent of older veterans said that they had become increasingly isolated following their diagnosis of sight loss. After receiving our support, 86 per cent of respondents said that it had helped them to feel less isolated.[1]

Blind veteran Yvonne Traynor chatting with a volunteer at Blue Monday's tea party in London
Several volunteers joined us at the event to chat with our blind veterans.

Matthew Athey, Community Team Leader at Blind Veterans UK says:

"Our veterans often tell us that losing their sight made them feel more isolated. Events like these are a valuable opportunity for ex-Service men and women to get out and about, make new friends, and share in that special Forces spirit again. We’re so pleased that Sophie could lend a hand in bringing some cheer to the event this ‘Blue Monday!"

Ickenham blind veteran Alan Lance, 82, attended the tea party with his wife Lorraine. Alan was called up for National Service in 1953 and joined the Army Catering Corps. He was stationed in Egypt’s Suez Canal Zone and demobbed in 1955. Alan lost his sight later in life due to age-related macular degeneration and joined Blind Veterans UK in 2014.

Photo of the beautiful logo cake baked by Sophie Faldo for Blind veterans UK
We decked out our London office in full Bake Off style for the event.

Alan says: “I didn’t initially realise that I was eligible for the support of Blind Veterans UK, but my wife read an article about the charity and told me to get in touch. I’m glad I did because the support for both of us has been wonderful!”

"We had a lovely afternoon at the tea party and enjoyed good company, delicious cake, and even some fizz! I used to be shy about going to social events, but Blind Veterans UK certainly put a smile on both our faces on ‘Blue Monday’."

[1] Blind Veterans UK’s Isolation Survey 2016

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Clarient Research.  The sample size was 516 responses from a postal survey to 1,506 Blind Veterans UK beneficiaries aged 75 or older who joined the charity in the last three years.  Fieldwork was carried out between 1st October 2016 and 7th November 2016 and attracted a response rate of 34%.

516 responses from a population of 1,506 members has a confidence interval of 3.5% at the 95% level.