Blind veteran gardener from Hedge End visiting charity’s Hampton Court show garden

30 June 2017 09:00

A blind veteran from Hedge End, Southampton who has received vital support from us, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women, will be visiting our charity’s show garden at the prestigious RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this July.

Keith Ott, 90, and from Hedge End, Southampton, will be visiting our show garden in Hampton Court as part of a special week of gardening activities for blind veterans with green fingers held at our training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton.

Keith says: “I served in both the Home Guard and Royal Engineers in the Middle East and Far East. I was on the Burma border when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima”.

He recalls: “I first heard about the charity from a totally blind member of the Freemasons I knew”.

"I was astonished that everything the charity gives you is free and on loan for as long as you want it. One of the best things I was given is my magnifier for reading. Anything coming through my letterbox goes straight into it. It is wonderful to be able to read your own post”. I really enjoy my holidays at their centre. There is companionship and it is so relaxing. I can unwind and there is the time to do absolutely nothing"
Keith Ott and Rita Lovett at Brighton centreKeith says: “I am a keen gardener and have a large garden plus a greenhouse for growing fruit.  I grow typical English flowers like azaleas and chrysanthemums.  I now have a gardener come in to do the lawns and weeding – I can’t tell the difference between weeds and small plants.  I don’t plant annually anymore as my garden is nicely established.  My kids take me to garden centres”.

The Blind Veterans UK ‘It’s all about community’ garden has been designed by celebrated designers Andrew Fisher Tomlin & Dan Bowyer and it will be one of the largest show gardens at Hampton Court this year.

Keith says: “I am really looking forward to the gardening week at the charity and especially going to Hampton Court”.