27 May 2021 16:00
Dickie Bird OBE has hosted a private talk for a group of 20 blind veterans with an interest in cricket.
The purpose of this talk was to provide some much-needed entertainment as this period of self-isolation continues.
Streamed on Microsoft Teams, the blind veterans from the South East with an average age of 85 were able to join the call via telephone.
Dickie vividly described his time playing first-class cricket for Yorkshire and Leicestershire before moving onto his umpiring career at various World Cups and Test matches through the years. Recalling some of his most treasured memories, he emotionally described his lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, listing it among his proudest moments.
Dickie then moved onto a series of questions from the blind veterans on the call, giving his opinion on the current state of the game as well as the impact technology has had on umpiring decisions.
Dickie says: “At the age of 75 I had a sight loss scare myself when I woke up one morning and couldn’t see a thing. It was only by the power of God and the amazing doctors at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital that I managed to get 90% of my sight back."
The presentation with Dickie Bird was just one of the many virtual activities that we now offer our veterans. We launched ‘Operation Entertain’ last year to maintain our beneficiaries’ morale and prevent social isolation.
Click play to listen to Dickie's message to our veterans.
"I had a brief insight into the challenges that blind veterans face everyday and I have the world of respect for them. Blind Veterans UK are a wonderful charity who do a brilliant job supporting them through those challenges. It was a fantastic afternoon and I look forward to speaking with them again.”Dickie Bird, OBE
We continue working to keep our veterans connected.
So far over 1,000 veterans have taken part in our virtual social activities including online photography, woodwork, and art clubs. There are now 75 national groups of blind veterans and 102 local groups meeting regularly and supporting each other.
“I think I speak on behalf of all the blind veterans on the call in saying that it was an amazing experience to hear from Dickie in the comfort of our living rooms. He not only regaled some amazing stories from the world of cricket but was also highly entertaining as you would expect. It broke up the social isolation that so many of us have experienced in the last year or so. It was a wonderful feeling to hear the voices of friends and discuss our shared love of cricket.”Graham, 83-year-old blind veteran