Blind veteran and volunteer receive military charity award
1 April 2015 10:32
A blind veteran and a volunteer have been awarded Blind Veterans UK awards for their individual efforts and amazing journey together as part of the charity’s Founder’s Day Awards.
Peter King, aged 67 and from Boston, started to receive support from Blind Veterans UK in 2011 and was visiting their Llandudno centre when he met volunteer Dawn Wafer. Dawn, 47 and from Wales, inspired Peter to do arts and crafts.
Peter says: "If it wasn't for Dawn, I'd still be sitting in my chair. She asked me if I'd ever considered creating a mosaic and I wasn't that much into the idea. However, she suggested the shape of a cockerel and I thought 'why not give it a whirl?!'"
Peter spent nine months on the mosaic and used over 19 different colours to produce the final mosaic.
Peter says: "Dawn has taken me to lots of different tile shops so I can buy all the colours I need to make the masterpiece and I use a magnifier to try and feel and see the outline of the shapes. I owe everything to Dawn for the support she has given me."
To make the most of his new found passion, Blind Veterans UK set up a workshop in Peter's garage so he can work on mosaics whenever he feels inspired.
Dawn started volunteering at Blind Veterans UK just over two years ago in the arts and crafts department at the charity's centre in Llandudno. She dedicates two to three afternoons a week, working closely with the veterans and encouraging them to start new creative projects to build their skills and develop their independence.
Dawn says: "It's so rewarding and humbling to watch veterans who've lost their sight to go on this incredible journey to independence. I'm glad I can help to be a part of that.
"If I had any advice for people who want to volunteer, I'd say make sure to sign up as soon as you can, don't put it off it's a wonderful charity and a great experience."
Founders day celebrates Blind Veterans UK's founder Sir Arthur Pearson and his success at rebuilding his life after sight loss. They are given to outstanding veterans and volunteers for their achievements. This year, the day is particularly significant as it commemorates 100 years since the first blind veterans entered the training centre in Regents Park for rehabilitation, on 26 March 1915.
Dawn received a Founders Day Award for her outstanding volunteering efforts and Peter received a Founders Day Award for his arts and crafts.
Peter says: "It was fantastic winning the awards, Nadia, our Arts and Crafts Instructor had such a grin on her face, knowing she had nominated us both for an award."
If you are interested in volunteering with Blind Veterans UK, please visit www.blindveterans.org.uk for volunteering opportunities.
If you know someone who may be eligible for free support, refer them today by visiting www.noonealone.org.uk or call free on 0800 389 7979.