Blind veteran from Wiltshire marches on Remembrance Sunday with Blind Veterans UK
1 November 2015 16:08
A blind veteran from Wiltshire marched with other blind veterans to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday for Blind Veterans UK.
Lindy Elliott, 69 and from Mere, joined more than 100 other representatives of Blind Veterans UK, which this year celebrates its 100 years of service to vision impaired ex-Service men and women.
Lindy joined the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in 1965, training in communications on HMS Dauntless and HMS Mercury and then posted to RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset. She was later drafted to Singapore on the staff of the Commander in Chief Far East Fleet.
Lindy says: "My father was in the Royal Navy and spoke of his Service days and inspired me to join the WRNS. I wanted to travel and in those days women didn't. I always thought there was more to life and the WRNS was the ideal solution.
"In 1966 I was lucky enough to be selected to head out to Singapore and it was an amazing experience. When I returned, I worked in the Citadel under Horse Guards Parade for the Ministry of Defence (Navy) while I waited to take a Commission."
It was at this time that she was dealt a blow and diagnosed with diabetes. It meant the end of her career in the WRNS and, later in life, also meant that she lost her sight.
Lindy began to lose her sight 10 years ago due to diabetic retinopathy and has received help and support from Blind Veterans UK since 2012.
She says: "I remember bending down one day and blood rushing across my eye. From then it carried on deteriorating and within four months it was chronic.
"It was scary and very difficult to come to terms with but I decided that I wasn't going to let it control my life."
Lindy has received help from Blind Veterans UK to allow her to keep her independence and equipment such as a CCTV reader which blows up any document to an enormous size allowing her to read.
She says: "The training and equipment is very important but for me, it's the companionship that is the best bit.
"Blind Veterans UK is like another family to me. A family of people who are all together with the same problems and the same support. I don't think I could exist anymore without Blind Veterans UK."
Lindy marched for the third time to the Cenotaph and marched together with more than 100 other blind veterans on Remembrance Sunday for Blind Veterans UK.
She says: "Every time I march through the arch on Horse Guards memories come flooding back from my time in the Navy. It is a surreal when everyone starts to clap on Whitehall - it is amazing and humbling experience.
"While is a solemn occasion but there's such banter between the veterans. The entire experience gives me such a sense of togetherness that you don't experience anywhere else. I feel incredibly proud to have been part of this year's Remembrance Sunday celebrations in London."