Daughter of Fulham blind veteran thanks Blind Veterans UK for unbelievable support this Mothers Day
12 March 2015 12:00
The daughter of a vision impaired ex-Service woman from Fulham has thanked national military charity Blind Veterans UK for the “unbelievable” support her mother has received in order to help her live independently, in time for Mother’s Day.
The 88-year-old mother and grandmother, Constance Halford-Thompson, began to lose her sight over 40 years ago when she was diagnosed with the hereditary condition retinitis pigmentosa. Her sight has gradually deteriorated over time and she is now registered blind. Since 2001, Constance has received vital support from Blind Veterans UK to help her regain her independence.
Constance's daughter Lulu Lodge, said: "The support my mother has received from Blind Veterans UK has been unbelievable. They've taught her all kinds of skills, given her equipment and provided courses and weekends away to keep her busy.
"When she first began to lose her sight, it was devastating. She is an artist, and over time had to give up painting altogether. Blind Veterans UK has enabled her to become creative in other ways though. At the charity's Brighton centre she has attended soapstone carving courses and rug weaving among others."
Constance joined the Women's Auxiliary Services in 1944 to help with the war effort in Burma. When the war ended, she returned to England where she studied art and became a professional artist. As her sight deteriorated, she decided to write a children's book for her grandchildren and began to learn how to use a computer. She attended a computer class with the local council, and through this discovered Blind Veterans UK.
Constance said: "Blind Veterans UK has helped me enormously. When I first got in touch, it was marvellous to know that there was someone that could help me. They've changed my life completely.
"I've learnt how to use a computer and I've done all sorts of courses at the Brighton centre. They've also given me a great deal of equipment to help me at home, one of the most exciting being a milestone - a small mp3 device that stores audio books.
Lulu said: "She is such a hit with her grandchildren and I don't know many 88-year-olds who can use a computer as well as her."
Blind Veterans UK provides free, lifelong support to ex-Service men and women who are battling severe sight loss, regardless of when or how they lost their sight. The charity has three centres and a network of welfare officers across the UK, all providing specialist practical and emotional support to help veterans and families adjust to life with sight loss.
If you, or someone you know, is a vision impaired veteran now battling severe sight loss, like Constance, request Blind Veterans UK's free, lifelong support by calling 0800 389 7979 or visit www.noonealone.org.uk.