Blind veteran Tom and wife Amy celebrate 70 years together

27 April 2017 16:00

Congratulations to blind veteran Tom Bryden and his wife Amy celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this week.

 Tom and Amy attended a lunch club on Monday organised by our charity and were presented with an anniversary cake.

Tom Bryden and his wife Amy cutting their 70th wedding anniversary cake

 They were childhood sweethearts who first met when Tom bravely approached her in the shop where she was working. 

Blind veteran Tom Bryden as a young manTom says “my grandma had noticed Amy in the shop and suggested I talk to her.  I went to “have a look” and several visits to the shop later I plucked up the courage to ask her out – and the rest is history.  She was so pretty and had gorgeous ginger hair.”  “Red hair” says his wife. Amy was a beautiful cabaret singer who performed in local clubs.
Amy Bryden, Tom Bryden's wife, as a young womanAmy thought Tom’s shyness was because there were always other people in the shop looking on. At the time Tom was working in a factory with a by-product of small scraps of German silver and he used them to make an engagement ring which Amy says she wore for 52 years. Eventually the band wore too thin and Tom replaced it with a platinum ring.

Amy was 14 and Tom 16 when they met and they married just two years later.  Amy said she had always fancied a Gretna Green wedding but that it didn’t work out. Tom came home for two weeks from his National Service posting in Italy for their wedding at Christ Church, Dunston. 

He returned to his National Service and was caught up in an explosion when the tank he was commanding in Suez hit a land mine.  He was seriously injured by flying shrapnel.  Many years’ later doctors were still pulling pieces from his face.  He blames this accident for his deafness although it did not cause his sight loss.

Tom suffers from macular degeneration and, as he had done National Service, he was advised by the doctor at Newcastle Hospital who registered him as blind to get in touch with us. 

"The training was out of this world and, as well as providing very useful equipment, the charity provides comradeship.  It gave me the ability to accept my sight loss and realise it was not the end of the world."

Tom and Amy have three sons, all now retired, which Tom says makes him feel really old The couple have six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren!

Tom is currently chairman of Sight Service in the North East who support those who have lost their sight in the area.

We wish them both many more years of happiness together! Cheers!

Blind veteran Tom Bryden and his wife Amy celebrating their wedding anniversary