Hertfordshire blind veteran rediscovers passion for cartooning
1 May 2015 14:28
A Hertfordshire blind veteran has rediscovered his cartooning skills and created a new cartoon book after receiving support from Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision impaired ex-Service men and women.
Fred Jefferies, aged 85 from Tring, was unable to draw for 10 years after he lost most of his sight due to age related macular degeneration. In 2011 a neighbour who was supported by Blind Veterans UK introduced him to the charity, which supports veterans to live independently with sight loss.
At Fred's introduction week at Blind Veterans UK's Brighton centre he was encouraged to get back into drawing. The charity supplied him with free equipment including a magnifying device to aid him with his art.
Fred said "Once Blind Veterans UK started helping me I found I could suddenly do so many things that I was not able to do before. Without Blind Veterans UK I would not have even tried to get back to drawing again and I would never have created this cartoon book."
Fred has had a passion for drawing his entire life. As a young boy, he grew up in London but was evacuated to a farm in Surrey during the Second World War. Once the owner of the farm discovered Fred's love for drawing he arranged for an artist friend to teach Fred some skills.
Fred served in the Army as part of National Service from 1947 to 1949. He trained to be a mechanic and became part of the Royal Artillery. While he was stationed at Dover, and later at Warrington, the base supplied him with a motorcycle so he could attend drawing lessons at a nearby night school.
After his time in the Army, Fred successfully combined his passion for art with his work. He worked as a freelancer for 50 years creating a wide range of cards, posters and signs.
Fred has now channelled his regained love for art into a new book of his drawings published this month.
'Love Bites' by Fred Jefferies will be available from 29 January 2015