Blind veteran of the Women’s Royal Naval Service talks about the free support she receives
Marguerita joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service (Wrens) in 1951 as an aircraft mechanic where she completed four years of service. During this time she was posted at Yeovil in Somerset and Londonderry in Northern Ireland before being discharged in 1955.
Marguerita said: “It was a bit of a shock to leave the Service. I really missed the communal life and suddenly had to adjust to living very differently.”
After leaving the Wrens she got a job with the Ministry of Agriculture where she had the role of testing milk.
Marguerita first experienced sight problems when she was 76 and found that she had to shut one eye when doing the crossword. She was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration in one eye and had to have injections every six weeks.
Later on, the macular disease appeared in her other eye and she had to give up driving. Since then, her eyesight has gradually deteriorated. Marguerita was registered as partially sighted just before Christmas 2015.
Marguerita was referred to the charity by Action for Blind People and has received support from us since December 2015.
She said, “When I lost my sight I had to give up birdwatching and I thought that I would never be able to do watercolour painting again. It was a great pity. I couldn’t see any detail. I couldn’t distinguish one bird from another”.
This National Eye Health Week, we are reaching out to vision-impaired veterans like Marguerita who could benefit from our free, life-changing support. Regardless of how a veteran lost their sight or when they served, we will provide free, lifelong support to them and their families to help them discover life after sight loss. We estimate that there are currently 59,000 blind veterans that would be eligible to our free specialist support, most of whom are not currently aware of it.
Marguerita first heard about Blind Veterans UK from staff at Action for Blind People, and she joined the charity in Christmas 2015. She had an initial visit from her Welfare Officer who came to find out about her sight loss in more detail and assess her needs.
Marguerita said: “Support from Blind Veterans UK has been very useful. I’ve now been to the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton. It is a magnificent place and it was very helpful in lots of ways. I took part in the arts and crafts activities and was able to paint once again. I made three acrylic paintings. On my next visit I am hoping to do an IT course and learn so much more.”
Marguerita also found that we were able to help in her home by supplying her with a CCTV reader so that she can read her letters.
Marguerita said: “Blind Veterans UK provides such an excellent service. It’s so nice to feel like you belong to an organisation that is there to help so many.”