Blind Oxfordshire RAF veteran thanks charity for “absolutely marvellous” support

7 January 2014 11:55

Royal Air Force veteran Peter Phipps praises the support he has received from Blind Veterans UK since losing his sight.

Kidlington resident Peter Phipps, 84, has praised Blind Veterans UK as "absolutely marvellous". Having begun to lose his sight years after serving in the RAF, Peter is now receiving free and comprehensive support from Blind Veterans UK to help him live independently.

Peter volunteered to join the RAF in 1945, leaving an apprenticeship to join the Forces. Beginning his service as an aircraft instrument mechanic, Peter soon decided he wanted to train as a parachute instructor: "There were these 20 or so blokes who seemed to always be surrounded by WAAFs (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) when off-duty.

"I wanted to know what made them so special, so I asked a friend why they were getting all the attention - he told me they were parachute instructors.

"I thought that seemed like a bloody silly thing to do, throwing yourself out of a plane and then teaching other people to do it, but there was danger pay involved so I signed up to become an instructor as well."

Peter left the RAF in 1949 and went on to work as a director for a number of companies before retirement. A few years ago, he started to notice that he was experiencing blurred vision.

An optician found that he was suffering from high blood pressure and that a burst blood vessel behind his eye was causing him to lose his sight. Soon after, Peter joined Blind Veterans UK and is now receiving free support to help with his sight loss.

Since joining last year, Peter has visited the charity's rehabilitation centre in Brighton, become a volunteer for the charity and represented Blind Veterans UK at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day.

"I've been so impressed with Blind Veterans UK - it's an absolutely marvellous organisation and I can't even begin to express my admiration for the work they do.

"I really want to make sure that as many people as possible find out about Blind Veterans UK and that anyone who may be eligible for their support gets in contact with them."

Research shows that there are 68,000 plus blind veterans who, like Peter, are eligible for our free support and services but are not currently aware of this.

If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces or did National Service and are now battling severe sight problems, we can help. Request free support by calling 0800 389 7979.