Blind ex-soldier from Humberside to march with Blind Veterans UK for Remembrance Sunday
8 October 2014 10:30
Blind ex-soldier from Humberside will march to the London Cenotaph this Remembrance Sunday with national charity Blind Veterans UK, after we supported him with his sight loss.
56-year-old Beverley resident Mick Scanlan, will be taking part in the annual march as part of a contingent of vision impaired ex-Service men and women supported by Blind Veterans UK.
A career soldier, Mick served in the Coldstream Guards from 1974 to 1993 and served across Europe, including the UK, Germany and Cyprus. During his time in the Army, Mick took part in exercises, ceremonial duty and security detail.
Mick says "The Army was a very good experience and one that has stayed with me for life. There was a great camaraderie and I still keep in contact with the people I served with."
Mick suffers from diabetes, a condition which has rapidly degraded his sight. He says "All the indications were that my diabetes was being kept under control, but my optician noticed that I was showing signs of diabetic retinopathy. I had a series of laser eye treatments, but they weren't able to stop my sight loss. I was registered partially sighted and then blind within a year.
"It was a huge shock - I went from having a job in security, an industry where your sight is very important and you have a lot of contact with other people, to nothing. I wasn't a total recluse, but my sight loss meant that I just didn't get out and meet people very often."
Mick first reached out for free and comprehensive support from Blind Veterans UK in 2012 after a friend recommended the charity. Mick says "I'd never heard of Blind Veterans UK before, but I was told about them when I was on holiday. It's been a massive surprise to me just how much support Blind Veterans UK has been able to give me. They trained me to use a computer without being able to see the screen and I now have a Level 1 I.T user qualification."
Mick will be marching to the Cenotaph with other vision impaired ex-Service men and women from Blind Veterans UK on Sunday 9 November. He says "Remembrance Day is a time to remember Forces men and women from previous generations - they and their families gave up a lot for what we have these days and it's worth remembering that.
"The mood is very sombre, but the crowd are absolutely fantastic and you get a lot of clapping and cheering as you march by with Blind Veterans UK. They lift you up and make you feel about ten feet tall."
Our No One Alone campaign aims to reach out to more veterans like Mick. More than 68,000 other people could be eligible for our 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 from any reason visit www.noonealone.org.uk or call 0800 389 7979.