Blind veteran and former employee inspires Sainsbury's branch to raise money for "life-changing" charity

1 July 2014 14:55

More than £2,000 has been raised for Blind Veterans UK by the Lewes Road branch of Sainsbury’s, thanks to a former employee who has inspired staff to make it their chosen charity for 2013-2014

Over the past year, staff and customers have raised £2,289.70 for Blind Veterans UK, culminating in Sainsbury's employees Pam Hasan, Beth Evans and Emma Macfarlane presenting a cheque at Blind Veteran UK's Brighton Centre last week (18 July). Lewis James and Idris Evans, both blind veterans supported by the centre, accepted the donation on behalf of the charity.

As a blind veteran and former Sainsbury's employee, Lewis James was especially pleased to be accepting the cheque. Lewis trained at his local Sainsbury's branch before being called up during the Second World War when he joined the Royal Fusiliers in October 1939. After being wounded by shrapnel, he was evacuated on a stretcher to Dover via Dunkirk. Lewis returned to Sainsbury's after being medically discharged in June 1941 and remained with the company until he retired at 63 in 1982.

Marco Sarro, Store Manager for Sainsbury's Lewes Road branch, said: "Our colleagues and customers have been very enthusiastic about raising funds for Blind Veterans UK and the life-changing support the charity provides. With Blind Veterans UK's Brighton Centre so close to our Lewes Road Store, it felt right to support an organisation that has a local presence. That one of our former employees is now helped by the charity, meant that this is also a cause close to our hearts."

Rachel Chitty, Regional Fundraiser for Blind Veterans UK, said: "We're hugely grateful for Sainsbury's donation - this generous contribution will help us continue supporting blind veterans like Lewis and Idris. Our Brighton Centre makes a vital difference, providing training and rehabilitation to enable blind veterans to live independently, and the support from local business such as the Lewes Road Sainsbury's branch, helps make this possible."

We launched the No One Alone campaign to reach out to more people like Lewis James. It is estimated that there are 68,000 plus blind veterans who could be eligible for our help but are unaware of it. If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces or National Service who now suffers with sight loss (including age-related sight loss) request our free support by calling 0800 389 7979.