Crawley veteran celebrates centenary of military charity
3 March 2015 17:15
A local veteran who has received support from Blind Veterans UK celebrated the centenary of the charity at a special reunion event this week
Alan Cox, 76 and from Crawley, 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 East Kent Regiment from 1958 to 1960 and joined fellow veterans with his wife Edna at the special lunch in the charity's centre in Brighton this week.
Alan has received vital help and support from Blind Veterans UK since 2010. He lost his sight due to suffering from optic atrophy, damage to the optic nerve.
Alan says: "Losing your sight and realising that you can't do simple tasks like screwing a screw into the wall is such a blow. Living with that constant frustration is the hardest part"
Alan 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 to keep in touch with friends and family and learned shooting, archery, and several crafts at the charity's Brighton centre. Alan also enjoys playing bowls regularly for a local blind team.
He says: "The training and equipment I have received from Blind Veterans UK has been such a help. Things like the special CCTV reader they have given me which allows me to still read the paper every day make a massive difference.
"It is lovely to meet up again with other people supported by the charity. It's nice chatting to people who are going through the same problems as you. Everyone at the Brighton centre is so warm and welcoming and it really was a lovely day."
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 Alan. 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.