Incredible volunteer Kevin enjoys weekly visit to see blind veteran Cyril

2 February 2018 10:00

Volunteer, Kevin Atterbury, visits 85-year-old blind veteran Cyril each week at his care home near Lincoln. The pair were introduced last July and since then Kevin calls and visits Cyril regularly.

Bind veteran Cyril Rayment with other blind veterans and staff at Llandudno centre Intro Week, December 2017.
Cyril on the far left during a recent training week at our Llandudno centre

A volunteer since last January, this is the third blind veteran who Kevin has spent time with.

One of Kevin’s visits to see Cyril was on Christmas Eve. Kevin says: “Cyril asked if I would like to bring my family over to spend the evening with him and join in the Christmas events.

"We had a lovely time and the food was great. Cyril presented my wife, granddaughter and myself with presents which was very kind of him. We brought Cyril a gift too."

Volunteer Kevin Atterbury serving dinner at a Christmas party for blind veterans.
Kevin helping out at a Christmas dinner party for our blind veterans.

Explaining what sparked his interest in becoming a volunteer, Kevin who was formerly a teacher at Stanford College says: “I’m ex-Army myself and I wanted to do something that was military related. I saw an article in my local paper about Blind Veterans UK and I thought hang on, there’s something there that’s totally different to what other charities have to offer. When you see somebody who is blind there is a barrier there and as a volunteer you have the chance to be somebody’s eyes.”

"There’s a lot of inspiration and a lot of care and that’s what I like about Blind Veterans UK. They do consider the people."

Describing Cyril as a ‘cheery chappy’, Kevin says: “When I spend the afternoon with Cyril we enjoy a cup of tea and a sausage roll together. I get the sausage rolls on my way in from the local butcher’s because I know how much Cyril likes them.”

When thinking of what being a volunteer means to him, Kevin says: 

"You get a feeling of goodness out of volunteering and a profound sense of pride. It’s really rewarding."

Having an interest in history, spending time with our blind veterans gives Kevin a chance to discover new things and hear in on captivating tales from years gone by. Kevin can in parts relate to the stories and is familiar with historic events as his father also served in the war. Kevin says: “It makes you feel like you were there with them.”

Volunteer Kevin Atterbury at the One Team Awards
Kevin, second from the right, at our One Team Awards.

A beneficiary of our charity since February 2017, Cyril joined the RAF in 1950 and was also in the Territorial Army. Based in the RAF maintenance unit in Sutton Coldfield, Cyril helped rescue passengers in the 1955 Sutton Coldfield rail crash - when a train traveling from York derailed due to extreme speed around a curve in the tracks, killing 17 people.

Something very notable about Cyril is that his family spans across four generations of serving in the Forces. Cyril’s father was in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. His daughter and son served in the RAF and Cyril’s grandson serves in the Royal Artillery.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer for our charity, take a look at the opportunities we have available here.