Blind ex-soldier from Wirral to take part in Remembrance Sunday march with Blind Veterans UK
16 October 2014 11:25
A blind National Service veteran from Wirral is set to join thousands of ex-Service men and women on his first Remembrance Sunday march at the Cenotaph in London with Blind Veterans UK.
80 year old Don Mulryan from West Kirby was called up for National Service in 1952 and trained with the Green Howards before joining the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Don says "When I was first called up, I was actually quite looking forward to joining the Army. It was something a bit different and very exciting for a young man.
"The best part of life in the Army was definitely the camaraderie and the social side. We were all there to do a job and you learnt to trust and rely on those you worked with."
Returning to his pre-service career in banking, Don also served in the Territorial Army as part of the Army Intelligence Corps.
Don started to lose his sight a few years after leaving the Army. He says "I was working in a bank and had been offered a job in Canada. I'd accepted, we'd sold the house and the family were getting ready to go when I noticed my vision was misty. The next day when I went into work, I realised I couldn't read a telephone directory any more. That's when I knew that it was serious."
The move was abandoned and Don stayed in his job until his eyesight became too poor to work. Not wanting to be defeated by his sight loss, Don qualified as a Technical Officer for the Blind and has worked for sight loss charities helping businesses make their facilities accessible to people with visual impairments.
Don has been supported by Blind Veterans UK since January, after contacting the charity for free and comprehensive support to help him live independently with sight loss. He says "I was surprised that I was eligible, as my sight loss wasn't because of anything that happened during my National Service.
"Blind Veterans UK has given me really fantastic training and support to help me deal with my sight loss and keep my independence, which is really important to me. I'd never really used many aids or gadgets before, but the charity has given me electronic magnifiers and computer software which reads text aloud so I can use a PC even if I can't see the screen."
On Sunday 9 November, Don will join over 100 vision impaired ex-Service men and women supported by Blind Veterans UK as part of the annual Remembrance Sunday march to the Cenotaph in London.
Don says "This will be the first time I take part in the Remembrance march, but I wanted to represent Blind Veterans UK. I had relatives in both world wars and my grandson is currently on his third tour in Afghanistan. Thinking of them, it really brings home how many people have served and are still serving in the Forces and they deserve to have their work recognised by us all."
Our No One Alone campaign aims to reach out to more people like Don. More than 68,000 other veterans 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 from any reason visit www.noonealone.org.uk or call 0800 389 7979.