Swindon blind veteran celebrates centenary of military charity

1 May 2015 12:32

A local veteran who has received support from Blind Veterans UK celebrated the centenary of the charity at a special reunion event this week (30/04).

John Glynn, 84 and from Covingham, 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.

John served his National Service in Germany from 1948-1950 and then joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1952, serving in Kure Hospital in Japan during the Korean War and in Kuala Lumpur in Malaya. He left the Service as a Staff Sergeant in 1961. John joined fellow veterans with his wife Eileen at the special lunch in the Mercure Swindon South Marston hotel this week.

John has received vital help and support from Blind Veterans UK since 2008.  He lost his sight due to chronic glaucoma and was put in touch with the charity through the Wiltshire Association for the Blind. He currently volunteers at his local eye clinic telling more potential blind veterans that the charity could help them. 

John says: "When you lose your sight and have to come to terms with not being able to do things like gardening or DIY anymore it's a real blow to your independence. Communicating with people also became very difficult."

John has received help from Blind Veterans UK to allow him to learn new skills and keep living as independently as possible. He has had training in IT to allow him to continue to communicate with friends and family as well as carry on with his love of music, singing in two local choirs.

He says: "I'm so pleased that I was put in touch with Blind Veterans UK. They have helped me keep my independence. I've booked in to visit the charity's centre in Llandudno for music week in the summer and I can't wait."

John and his wife Eileen recently celebrated their 60th Wedding anniversary in April and were surprised with flowers from Blind Veterans UK as well as a special card from the charity's patron, Her Majesty the Queen.

He added: "This reunion was particularly special for my wife and me having just celebrated our 60th anniversary, but it's also the 100th anniversary of Blind Veterans UK so everyone had something to celebrate!" 

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 John.  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.