Both blind veterans. Both born in Liverpool. Both supported for life.
3 November 2016
100 years ago George Eames was blinded in the Battle of the Somme. When George, who was born in Liverpool, returned to the UK he was invited to our Regent’s Park Hotel to recover.
Although George partook in typewriting and poultry farming training at our rehabilitation centre, he would go on to become a classical singer. It was during his poultry farming course that George was asked to perform at the Argyle Theatre, Birkenhead and the Wigan Hippodrome. As George had not completed his farming course he declined their invitation and went on to complete the course.
Later on George did decide to pursue his singing and went on to accept further offers. He was incredibly popular and became well-known as ‘the blind baritone’. Unfortunately, George suffered with health problems and died just 49, leaving his wife and five children.
100 years later Billy, who is also a blind veteran, and likewise from Liverpool receives the same vital support.
Billy served in the Kings Regiment as a Junior Bandsman, stationed at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in York. After leaving the Forces in 1977 Billy retrained as an Auxiliary Nurse.
In 2002, during an eye test, Billy discovered he had a build-up of pressure behind his eye and was later diagnosed with glaucoma.
Billy says:“I was incredibly worried when I was diagnosed, I was afraid I would have to give up my job and not be able to provide for my family”
Sadly, Billy was forced to give up his job as he could no longer see the computer screen properly. He received some help from his local authority and during a meeting with a social worker discovered Blind Veterans UK.
Since then he has received rehabilitation training to help adapt to his sight loss, this has included long cane training and advanced IT coaching.
Billy says: “I have received so much fantastic equipment from Blind Veterans UK. I have a CCTV reader so I can read letters and documents and have cooking scales and a watch to help whilst in the kitchen.”
Billy also attended a Blind Veterans UK RESET week where working aged veterans attend a week long course to improve their employability, increase their resilience and set goals for the future.
Billy says: “The RESET week was so valuable to me. I am now pursuing photography and have had lessons in how to manage my photographs on my iPad”