Blind ex-Army Lance Corporal from Cleveland to march on Remembrance Sunday with Blind Veterans UK
22 October 2014 13:05
A former Army Lance Corporal from Hartlepool will walk alongside with other blind veterans this Remembrance Sunday representing Blind Veterans UK.
Charlie Eastwood, 55, joined the Army in 1976 where he was part of the Royal Signals. During his 23 year service Charlie was stationed in Germany, Cyprus, the Caribbean and the UK.
Charlie says: "I loved being in the Army. I was a driver electrician and was responsible for communications systems - anything from mobile generators to satellite communications to helicopters."
In 1996 Charlie was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic disease that causes blindness. He was able to work in the Territorial Army for another three years as a teacher, before retiring in 1999.
Charlie says: "I came to the end of my career and went from knowing what I was doing every day to a vast emptiness. I felt very isolated. I got a part-time job to fill the gap a little but I felt unhappy being left to my own devices."
Things started to change for Charlie when he began receiving support from Blind Veterans UK in 2007.
Charlie says: "Blind Veterans UK helped me re-establish a military ethos which I like and showed me what I am capable of. I started doing all kinds of different activities from crafts to skiing, and I also recently ran the Great North Run with my daughter."
Charlie will march with other blind veterans this Remembrance Sunday to represent Blind Veterans UK.
Charlie says: "I'm quite passionate about Remembrance as I want to show respect to the Service personnel who have fought for us and lost their lives. It is wonderful to be amongst so many veterans of different ages and backgrounds. This will be the sixth time I'll be part of Remembrance Sunday and I would describe the experience as poignant and solemn. It is an absolute honour to represent Blind Veterans UK and we wear our badges with pride."
Our No One Alone campaign aims to reach out to more people like Charlie. More than 68,000 other people could be eligible for free help and support without realising it. If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces or National Service who now suffers with sight loss, whatever the cause, visit www.noonealone.org.uk or call 0800 389 7979.