Three blind veterans combine to send birthday card to Her Majesty

20 April 2016 09:55

Three blind veterans from Sussex have joined forces to send a special birthday card to Her Majesty The Queen on her 90th birthday.

Joyce Paice, 95 and from Eastbourne, made the special card at the Blind Veterans UK training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton with Elizabeth Sharpe-Nelson M.B.E, also 95, and a resident of the centre in Ovingdean.

The card will be sent with a special poem inside written by Marion Sharville, 94 and from Worthing, who wanted to share her best wishes as well as those of the charity Blind Veterans UK.

Joyce, Elizabeth and Marion are all registered blind and, as they have previously served in the Armed Forces, are entitled to support from Blind Veterans UK. The charity, formerly known as St Dunstan's, has held The Queen's Patronage throughout her reign and asked the ladies if they would produce a card and message to celebrate her 90th birthday.
Joyce Queens Birthday

All three ladies served their country during the Second World War. Joyce and Marion both served in the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) and both have now lost their sight due to age related macular degeneration. Elizabeth served in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) spending time in Fighter Command and lost her sight later in life due to Glaucoma.

Speaking about making the card, Joyce said:

"It is such a privilege to have been asked to make such a special card and it was a real surprise.

"With my sight loss I can only see shadows now so I can't actually see the end result but everyone has said it looks lovely."

Elizabeth added:

"I met Her Majesty in 1971 when she invested me with my M.B.E in Australia.

"It's amazing that 45 years later we've been given the opportunity to make her birthday card from such a wonderful organisation in Blind Veterans UK."

Speaking about writing the poem included in the card, Marion said:

"It was a huge honour to just have been asked to write this poem. I haven't even told my family yet so it should be a big surprise for them too!

"I write poems all the time as well as short stories and novels but when I was asked to do this my mind went blank. I decided to think about how I'm only four years older than Her Majesty and all the admiration I had for her when she became Queen at such a young age, and have continued to have ever since. It took about two days in total.

"I've had so much help from Blind Veterans UK and I know that I wouldn't have been able to have carried on my writing after losing my sight if I hadn't had all the help with equipment and training."

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

For more than a century, 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.