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Stoke-on-Trent veteran celebrates centenary of military charity

Date
1 April 2015 11:01

A local veteran who has received vital support from Blind Veterans UK celebrated the centenary of the charity at a special reunion event in Derby last week (10/04).

Eddie Dunn, 83, from Forsbrook, 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.

Eddie joined the Royal Navy in 1948 when he was 17 and served until 1967. He trained as a mechanical engineer and played football for most of the Royal Navy's top teams. He even represented the United Services, the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, in the Mediterranean.

He has received help and support from Blind Veterans UK since 2004.  He lost his sight due to macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss in those over 50. He was diagnosed after an optician's visit and had to give up driving.

He says: "With being active all my life, the sudden macular degeneration knocked me back, especially when I lost my car. I was downhearted until I started to receive support from Blind Veterans UK. I took up IT and that helped enormously."

Eddie received a special computer, reader and keyboard from Blind Veterans UK. He did basic IT training at the charity's Brighton Centre. He then studied for his European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), a certified IT qualification, with the charity in Sheffield.

He says: "I never thought I'd use a keyboard, but I took to it straight away and I love it. It's helped me contact my friends and family members in Canada and Australia."

He has used his IT skills to write his life story - from birth, to his Navy days and meeting his wife while stationed in Malta.

Eddie says: "I've burned it onto a disk for my great grandchildren and I've put a family tree onto the same disk so they know where their great grandfather came from."

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 Eddie.  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 www.noonealone.org.uk now.