Swanage ex-Signalman thanks life changing charity

Date
19 December 2013 15:00

A blind ex-Signalman from Swanage, Dorset, has thanked Blind Veterans UK for its life changing support through his battle against sight loss.

Steve Claxton, 77, has said that joining the charity, which provides support, rehabilitation and training to blind veterans, was quite simply the 'best thing he has ever done', since losing his eye sight after an operation went wrong 23 years ago.

Steve joined the Royal Corps of Signals in September 1953 and served at Catterick and Colchester. He was discharged in September 1956 as a Signalman, having attained good educational qualifications. It was not until years later that he had the operation which accidentally left him with just 5% vision in his left eye and 10% vision in his right eye. As the charity for blind ex-Service men and women which supports veterans regardless of when they served or how they lost their sight, Blind Veterans UK has been there to support him.

Steve says: "I cannot speak highly enough of Blind Veterans UK. Through it I have enjoyed some excellent holidays at its centres and learnt some great new skills. I have done an IT course which has helped me enormously with being able to use a computer, but there is still a lot more I want to achieve in this area. Just next week I will go to the Brighton centre for a six day mosaic making course, and I have also had fun at the Llandudno centre taking part in a radio adventure holiday at which me and the other members set up a radio station which was transmitted all over the country and very well received.

"Being a part of Blind Veterans UK has also been a real help to my wife. I think she found visiting the Brighton centre very helpful, because she has learnt how to support me better with my sight loss. I feel so much more confident, and would say that I am absolutely a glass half full person now!"

Steve's daughter, Tayla Claxton, said: "It has been brilliant to see the positive impact the charity has had on Dad; he is just so much more independent. It is great for us and Mum to know that when he visits the centres he receives excellent care there, and it also gives Mum a bit of a break. We can see that he is doing things now which we would never have imagined he would do before. He feels so much happier. Dad being a part of the charity really benefits everyone".

Each year Steve puts on a Christmas lights display at his family home in Swanage and hopes to raise as much as possible for Blind Veterans UK. This year they are collecting donations in a bucket for passers by.

Blind Veterans UK recently launched its No One Alone campaign which aims to reach out to the estimated 68,000 plus ex-Service personnel who could be benefiting from the charity's services but they either do not know about the charity or they do not know that they are eligible for its services.

If you are or know of a veteran with vision impairment, request free support by calling telephone: 0800 389 7979.