Victory Over Blindness sculpture unveiled in Manchester

Date
18 October 2018 12:00

Tuesday 16 October was a very special day for Blind Veterans UK. Our patron HRH The Countess of Wessex unveiled our ‘Victory Over Blindness’ statue outside Manchester Piccadilly station.

Magnificent seven with the statue
Seven of the blind veterans we support stand next to our statue, Victory Over Blindness.

The statue has been created in bronze by artist Johanna Domke-Guyot, and shows seven war-blinded First World War soldiers in a line, supporting each other with arms on shoulders. Manchester Piccadilly is a particularly apt place for the statue, as it is there that many soldiers would have arrived back from the conflict before entering rehabilitation.

Before unveiling the statue, Her Royal Highness said, “This statue commemorates not only the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, but also the life-changing support Blind Veterans UK offers to vision-impaired ex-Service men and women since that conflict through to the present day.

HRH The Countess of Wessex speaks at our unveiling
HRH The Countess of Wessex speaks at the unveiling of our statue.

“As we approach the anniversary of the end of the First World War and, quite rightly, remember all of those who never returned, it is also important to remember those who did, changed by their experiences.

"I have seen at first hand the difference the charity makes to the lives of blind veterans and I am looking forward to meeting many more blind veterans here today and hearing their stories."
HRH The Countess of Wessex

Her words were echoed by Blind Veterans UK Chief Executive, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB, who said: “Helping blind veterans achieve victory over blindness is the cornerstone of everything we do, and have always done, at Blind Veterans UK. In 2018 victory over blindness means enabling blind veterans to lead the lives they choose.

“Blind Veterans UK enables ex-Service men and women to rebuild their lives after sight loss through free services and lifelong practical and emotional support. We support all blind veterans regardless of when they served or how they lost their sight. The statue demonstrates the life-changing impact the charity has had over the last 103 years.

Statue close up with Jim in the background
A close up of the front figure in the statue.
"This statue is our way of commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War and recognising the amazing work achieved by our veterans at that time and ever since."
Nick Caplin

The ‘Victory Over Blindness’ sculpture will be the only permanent memorial in Great Britain to commemorate the centenary of the signing of the Armistice, on 11th November, 1918. It is accompanied by two plaques, one of which is in braille.

We support over 4,700 blind and vision-impaired veterans today. More than ever before in the charity’s history and 50 per cent more than the total number of veterans the charity supported who lost their sight as a result of their service in WWI. The charity estimates there are up to 50,000 blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women who are entitled to their support but not aware of it.   

You can find out more about our Victory Over Blindness campaign and the work we do at www.blindveterans.org.uk/victory