Blind veteran Mark discovers a new love for photography thanks to our support.
Mark served in the Light Infantry (Territorial Army) from July 1984 as a driver and bugle player, having been unable to join the regular Army due to his eye condition. However the deterioration in his eyesight resulted in him leaving the TA in July 1993.
It was in 2000 that Mark’s vision suddenly worsened. He was registered partially sighted in that year and blind in 2011.
Mark said: “I was driving a bus full of kids and I couldn’t determine whether the edge of the road was a kerb or a wall – it was just fading away. I didn’t want an accident on my conscience so I stopped the bus.”
After losing his job and his driving licence, he fell into a deep depression. He said: “I wouldn’t accept my sight loss and if you don’t accept it you stop living.”
With the help of his family, Mark sought help our charity and was invited with his wife to the Brighton Centre for a week of rehabilitation and training.
Mark said: “By the Wednesday of that week, I had started to talk to people, which was a good sign. Later I had the confidence to go to the centre without my wife. Now I’ve been loads of times on my own.”
Mark said: “The support that I’ve received from Blind Veterans UK has been truly amazing – it honestly saved my life and I’m a different person now. The charity showed me that there is still so much I can do despite my sight loss and I’ve taken up photography and framing, giving me a new lease of life.”
A keen photographer before losing his sight, Mark now teaches Adobe Photoshop Elements to other blind and vision-impaired veterans at the Brighton Centre. He has also been trained to do picture framing and mounting.
Mark said: “They’ve given me equipment, but it’s the support from staff and the other veterans at the centre that has made the difference for me. You don’t have to pretend. Everyone is in the same boat.
“I would urge anyone who served in the Armed Forces, including anyone who did National Service, and is now affected by sight loss to get in touch with Blind Veterans UK and find out about the support that’s on offer.’
If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces or did National Service and are now battling severe sight loss, find out how Blind Veterans UK could help by calling 0800 389 7979 or visiting noonealone.org.uk