Blind veterans ready and “belted up” for a week of transport related activities
23 August 2017 09:00
The recent Transport Week, run by our Brighton centre, was a fantastic mix of excursions, activities and talks on various aspects of transport.
One of those attending was Ken Hobbs, 94, ex-Royal Army Service Corps who was part of the D-Day landings and received the Legion d’Honneur last year.
Ken started losing his sight as a result of a petrol fire while in the army. Since joining the charity in 2012 Ken has enjoyed regular holidays with us and was keen to take part in the Transport Week activities.
First up was Bluebell Railway where Ken said they enjoyed “a smashing Ploughman’s lunch” on the steam train travelling between East Grinstead and Sheffield Park and were shown around the loco sheds and museum.
A trip to Brighton City Airport, formerly Shoreham Airport, included a tour of the airport and fire department (Ken is seen below brandishing a fire hose), a talk on the history of the airport followed by lunch in the beautiful art deco main building’s Hummingbird restaurant.
Next was a remote control tank assault course, driving the tanks, with staff acting as co-drivers as you would for a rally driver.
The visit to Brooklands, the museum of aviation and motor sport, was made special for Ken by one his sons Christopher, who lives nearby, meeting our group there.
Several talks took place during the week. Lt. Gordon Bradley RN spoke about helicopters and his adventures during his navy career and all would happily have listened to him for another hour.
Our Transport Manager, Chris Kirk, gave a talk on the history of drones. As we have a drone at our Brighton centre Ken was able to have a go at flying the drone, under the instruction of Chris, and said, “It was very tricky to fly, being so light and the controls so delicate. Since then I have started watching drone racing on TV – indoors around an obstacle course - and being able to appreciate now how difficult it is to do”. The photo below shows the group from the airborne drone.
All the veterans said they had a wonderful time during the week and enjoyed having a go at things like flying the drone and driving the tanks, as they didn’t think they would be able to take part in this.