Twelve blind veterans from East Anglia walked for one mile down Colchester High Street last week as part of our 'March for Veterans' awareness month, showcasing the achieving of victory over blindness, and raising £640 in the process.
As a historical gesture to past blind veterans and comrades in arms, they walked hand to shoulder, a method used during the First World War to evacuate those blinded during combat in the trenches and recently immortalised in our bronze sculpture located outside Manchester Piccadilly Train Station.
The blind veterans who took part represent an assortment of communities across East Anglia including Colchester, Basildon, Walton-on-the-Naze, Felixstowe, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.
Along the route they were supported by serving soldiers from the Army 16 Medical Regiment, Blind Veterans UK volunteers, Colchester Pipes & Drums, Essex Police and St John Ambulance.
When the pipes started up, it brought a lump to the back of my throat. It was a very emotional occasion. I'm in the choir and it was brilliant to take part with my fellow choir members. The public got what we were doing straight away and were so supportive. I've wanted to give back to the charity for a long time as they've supported me greatly, so I'm over the moon that we raised £640.John Russell, 77-year-old RAF & Army veteran from Halstead in Essex
It was less of a march and more of a shuffle! But I hugely enjoyed it. What an achievement it was. The people of Colchester were very friendly and supportive and it was great to make them aware of the work Blind Veterans UK do in their community.Fran Ling, 87-year-old Wren veteran from Ipswich