Blind veteran Keith cooks Christmas lunch!

Date
12 December 2016

Blind veteran Keith cooked a special Christmas lunch for 25 fellow vision-impaired ex-Service men and women, alongside their families.

Keith used to own a pub in West Sussex with his wife and he worked as the chef. It was at this time that he started to experience problems with his sight. He started bumping into things and tripping over objects on the floor and didn’t realise his peripheral vision had started to go.

It was only when he had an eye ulcer that he was referred to a specialist and was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary disease that causes sight loss.

Veteran Keith Ward Cooks Christmas lunch

Keith says: “One of the hardest things about losing my sight was thinking that I wouldn’t be able to cook again. I thought it would be too dangerous.

“Since I started receiving support from Blind Veterans UK they showed me that there’s so much you can still do after losing your sight, including cooking.”

Keith was eligible for support from Blind Veterans UK after losing his sight because of his Service in the Armed Forces. He joined the Coldstream Guards in 1976 and did his initial training at Pirbright. He served in Northern Ireland and later performed ceremonial duties in London, including at the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace.

Since he started receiving support from Blind Veterans UK at the beginning of the year he has attended the Trooping of the Colour with the charity, marched with our delegation at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. Earlier in the year he also visited our Llandudno centre to complete a week of driving everything from Go-carts to Tanks.

He says: “I really found it difficult to cope after finding out that I was losing my sight but I have had the most amazing year and am hugely thankful.

“That’s why I decided to cook Christmas lunch for other local blind veterans and their friends and families. I wanted to say thank you to Blind Veterans UK.”

Since visiting our charities training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton for an induction week and being provided with training and equipment to help him in the kitchen Keith is back cooking again for the first time in eight years.

Veteran Keith Ward Cooks Christmas lunch

Keith is Chairman of Godstone Village Club and hosted his lunch there. The guests were treated to a full turkey dinner or braised beef followed by Christmas pudding or trifle and then mince pies, all made by Keith.

He adds: “I had some sausages and bones to make a lovely stock donated by Priory Farm and the guests also got to enjoy a lovely cake made by Jay Onuchukwu at Novelty Cakes.”

Jo Fishwick, Blind Veterans UK Welfare Officer for the area also attended the lunch. She says: “It is lovely to see how much Keith enjoyed the whole experience, from the planning, to the actual cooking. It was a challenge that he relished and rose to brilliantly.”