Blind Veterans UK thanks Her Majesty The Queen as she steps down as Patron

21 December 2016

Following the announcement today that Her Majesty The Queen is to step down as Patron of 25 organisations, including Blind Veterans UK, the military charity has thanked its Patron of more than 64 years for her service.

The Queen Archives

Blind Veterans UK is also thrilled to announce that the Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex GCVO will be its new Patron continuing her record of sterling support for the charity.

Her Majesty’s involvement with Blind Veterans UK, then known as St Dunstan’s began before she became Queen. In 1948, as Princess Elizabeth, The Queen donated £36 received as a wedding gift from citizens of Grahamstown, South Africa to St Dunstan’s to be used for the purchase of a guide dog.

Her Majesty became Patron of Blind Veterans UK in 1952, taking over the role from her father King George VI. She has visited the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton twice, including opening a new wing in 1985. She has also very generously opened up her home to allow the charity to host two garden parties at Buckingham Palace, including one celebrating the charity’s centenary last year, as well as a reception celebrating 50 years of St Dunstan’s at St James’s Palace.

Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB said: “It is the source of the greatest possible pride for all the blind veterans we support, as well as our staff and volunteers, to be part of a charity that has held Her Majesty’s patronage.

Countess of Wessex meeting blind veterans at Buckingham Palace Garden Party 2015

“The support that Her Majesty has provided to the more than 600 organisations that she is Patron of is truly invaluable and the Patron’s Lunch on the Mall this summer demonstrated the affection in which she is held as well as the impact she has had.

“It is with equal pride and delight for Blind Veterans UK to announce Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex as our new Patron. She has already demonstrated fantastic support for the charity and, amongst other things, welcomed more than 4,000 blind veterans and their families at our centenary garden party at Buckingham Palace last year.

“This is an exciting time for Blind Veterans UK. We currently support more blind veterans than ever before in the charity’s history and have set the ambitious target to double the number of blind and vision-impaired veterans we support in the next five years. Her Royal Highness will be hugely important in supporting us to achieve this goal.”