Ipswich blind veteran celebrates centenary of military charity

1 April 2015 11:53

A local veteran who has received support from Blind Veterans UK celebrated the centenary of the charity at a special reunion event this week (22/04).

Peter Rooke, 84 and from Foundation Street in Ipswich, reunited with several other veterans helped by Blind Veterans UK to mark the military charity's 100 years of proud service to blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

He served his national service with the Royal Signals and served in Egypt and Cyprus from 1951 to 1953 and joined fellow veterans with his wife Joan at the special lunch in the Cambridge Belfry Hotel this week.

Peter has received vital help and support from Blind Veterans UK since 2013.  He lost his sight due to age related macular degeneration and was put in touch with the charity through Ipswich Hospital.

Peter says: "When your sight first goes you do feel down. There are so many things you realise you won't be able to do anymore. I can't bowl anymore which is a real shame."

Peter has received help from Blind Veterans UK to allow him to learn new skills and keep living as independently as possible.  He has received training and support to allow him to utilise IT and says that this has changed his life.

He says: "Blind Veterans UK are the best thing that ever happened to me. I wasn't able to use my computer for the last few months as my eyesight is now too bad. They have provided me with a new talking computer and are training me to use it properly. I now use my computer every day.

"I have visited the Blind Veterans UK centre in Brighton several times now and it's such a help to meet and speak to people in the same situation as you with many people worse off. I met a man there recently with worse sight than mine who was producing marvellous paintings. Learning to paint is my next goal now!"

Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan's) was founded in 1915 and the charity's initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in World War I. But the organisation has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning World War II to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.

For 100 years, the charity has been providing vital free training, rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to blind and vision impaired veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.

Blind Veterans UK is currently reaching out to more veterans like Peter.  If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces, or those who did National Service, and is now battling severe sight problems, Blind Veterans UK may be able to provide them and their family with a lifetime's practical and emotional support for free.

Call freephone - 0800 389 7979 or go to now.