It is great to see our blind veterans keeping busy during lockdown and completing their own projects!

81-year-old Frank Berry has had more than one project on the go to keep himself occupied. He is part of a ukulele group, made up of him and eleven others, who join a Zoom call on Wednesday nights. These calls are a great opportunity for members of the group to play, sing and catch up. As well as online, Frank’s been busy in the garden building a greenhouse, growing vegetables and sanding down a pine table and chairs for his granddaughter.

Blind veteran Frank playing ukulele on a Zoom call
Frank playing ukulele on zoom
Blind veteran Frank in his greenhouse
Frank in his greenhouse
Blind veteran Frank sanding down a table and chairs
Frank sanding down furniture

Frank joined Blind Veterans UK in September 2013 and one thing he’s enjoyed in particular is modelling with air-drying clay, which he learnt at our Llandudno centre. He also has his guide dog Sissy by his side, so he walks her each day too. The special highlight has been welcoming his beautiful new great-granddaughter Poppy to the family who was born on 2 July.

Frank isn’t the only one with a flair for crafts. His wife Christine has been sewing scrubs and masks for local hospices and care homes made from recycled quilt covers and donated materials as part of Long Buckby Angels – a group set up to help people in the village. So far it has been a success with over 1000 jobs completed. Thank you Christine!

Blind veteran Frank using air-drying clay
Frank using air-drying clay
Blind veteran Frank's air-drying clay
Frank's air-drying clay pieces
Blind veteran Frank with guide dog Sissy
Frank's guide dog Sissy

While Frank is able to join Zoom calls and phone friends who live on their own, friend and fellow ukulele player Bob Wayment finds it difficult due to Parkinson’s disease. Because of this, the group’s teacher David Cadd organised a surprise concert in the graveyard opposite Bob’s house where he lives with wife Jan. Bob was astonished to see his friends playing and was delighted that they performed not one, but 16 songs.

This is what keeping connected is all about.

Blind veterans playing ukuleles
The surprise graveyard concert
Blind veteran Bob and wife Jan
Bob and wife Jan

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