Cambridgeshire blind veteran celebrates centenary of military charity
1 April 2015 11:57
A local veteran who has received support from Blind Veterans UK celebrated the centenary of the charity at a special reunion event this week (22/04).
Alfred Fillingham, 86 and from St Ives, reunited with several other veterans helped by Blind Veterans UK to mark the military charity's 100 years of proud service to blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
He served his national service in the Royal Armoured Corps, primarily as a gun fitter instructor, from 1947 to 1949 and joined fellow veterans with his wife Betty at the special lunch in the Cambridge Belfry Hotel this week.
Alfred has received vital help and support from Blind Veterans UK since 2013. He lost his sight due to age related macular degeneration and was put in touch with the charity through his local blind society.
Alfred says: "Losing your sight and coming to terms with the fact that you can't do simple tasks like DIY and gardening is a real challenge. There was so much that I could no longer do."
Alfred has received help from Blind Veterans UK to allow him to learn new skills and keep living as independently as possible. He has received training and support to allow him to utilise IT and specialist equipment. He has also recently been trained in using a long white cane when out in town.
He says: "Blind Veterans UK really has changed my life. The most important thing they have given me is my independence back. I use equipment like the special CCTV reader they have given me every single day for reading as well as writing letters."
Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan's) was founded in 1915 and the charity's initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in World War I. But the organisation has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning World War II to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.
For 100 years, the charity has been providing vital free training, rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to blind and vision impaired veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.
Blind Veterans UK is currently reaching out to more veterans like Alfred. If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces, or those who did National Service, and is now battling severe sight problems, Blind Veterans UK may be able to provide them and their family with a lifetime's practical and emotional support for free.
Call freephone - 0800 389 7979 or go to www.noonealone.org.uk now.