Blind painter and National Service veteran says thanks for “huge help”

13 February 2014 13:45

85 year old artist Peter Barrington started to lose his sight 12 years ago due to macular degeneration. He speaks about the support he has received at Blind Veterans UK.

85 year old Peter Barrington is an artist who worked to keep Britain safe in the event of a nuclear attack speaks about his thanks for the support he has received from Blind Veterans UK which has helped him live independently with sight loss.

Peter is from Norwich and he began to lose his sight 12 years ago, many years after served in the Army. Since after waking up one morning and seeing violent flashes of light, he has completely lost vision in his right eye and begun to lose sight in his left.

Peter's paintings of military planes can be seen in galleries across the country, and on his love of painting Peter said: "The worst part of losing my sight was that I had to give up painting - some of my pictures of military aircraft are still in the national collection, but my eyesight just wasn't good enough to continue with it."

Peter is now supported by Blind Veterans UK, having applied for support two years ago. He says: "I didn't know I was eligible for support from Blind Veterans UK until someone at my local blind association suggested it.

"The charity has been a huge help to me - they've given me equipment to help do everyday tasks more easily. Blind Veterans UK has been so helpful and really helped me to live with sight loss."

Peter was called up for National Service in 1947 and trained as a shorthand typist in the Royal Army Service Corps. During his time in the Army, Peter served in a British POW camp in Egypt and as a military court reporter in Palestine.

He says: "I was there when Israel was founded and was stationed in the country for the first few weeks of its existence. A lot changed very quickly there, and it was a very exciting time to be in the Army."

Following his service, Peter worked in the Royal Observer Corps for 30 years. As second-in-command of an Observer group, Peter was responsible for emergency planning in the case of a nuclear attack during the Cold War.

"My everyday work involved maintaining around 30 underground bunkers, making sure that the instruments worked and the operations room was ready to use if the worst ever happened. In the event of a nuclear attack, we would confirm the attack and send out a broadcast on an emergency frequency for anyone who needed the information."

You can listen to Peter's interview on BBC Radio Norfolk here:

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

If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces or for National Service and are now battling severe sight problems request free support or call freephone 0800 389 7979.