Lancashire blind veteran wins military charitys training award

1 April 2015 10:37

A blind veteran from Lancashire has been presented with an award from the charity Blind Veterans UK which recognises his impressive IT skills.

Graham Ward, 56 and from Fleetwood, served in the Royal Air Force before working as a graphic designer, a career which was cut short after he began to develop glaucoma.

Blind Veterans UK, formally St Dunstan's, is the national charity for blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women. It has been providing support to Graham since he lost his sight in 2013.

Blind Veterans UK has supported in Graham in completing his iTQ Level 1 Certificate. He has learnt to use word, excel, send emails and navigate the internet.

He says: "I started the course with a view to future employment and with my new skills I'm feeling more confident and optimistic."

Gaye Atkins, Graham's IT instructor at the Sheffield centre, said: "Graham lost his sight at a time in his life when he would have expected to still be working. With our help he has dug deep into his inner strength to continue a life beyond blindness.

"It hasn't been an easy path for Graham and he has had his setbacks but through sheer determination he has mastered the basics."

Graham received the 'training certificate' as part of Blind Veterans UK Founders Day awards, held each year on the 26 March. Founders day celebrates Blind Veterans UK's founder Sir Arthur Pearson and his success at rebuilding his life after sight loss. They are given to outstanding veterans and volunteers for their achievements. This year, the day is particularly significant as it commemorates 100 years since the first blind veterans entered the training centre in Regents Park for rehabilitation, on 26 March 1915.

About winning the award, Graham said "The training I have been given at the Sheffield centre is outstanding, I was shocked and delighted to receive the award; I couldn't believe it was given to me as I've only been with the charity for two years. It's particularly significant to win the award this year as it's Blind Veterans UK's 100th birthday.

"There are no words to express the support I've been given by Blind Veterans UK. They do everything for me, I can't describe it, and it's amazing."

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