Vision In Song: our first community choir launches!

15 August 2018 16:00

We are proud to announce the launch of the first Blind Veterans UK community choir, named Vision In Song, who made their debut performance at 'The Lawn', a beautiful Manor House in the heart of Essex.

The ten vision-impaired ex-Service men who make up the choir served in a variety of regiments and roles, and represent all three branches of the British Armed forces: Army, Navy and RAF.

Blind Veterans Choir, Vision In Song at The Lawn
Vision In Song at The Lawn

The choir, named Vision In Song, have an average age of 85 and perform an assortment of numbers from war-time classics to patriotic anthems and jazz hits.

They meet weekly for rehearsals where they are supported by choir mistress Jane Gould, accordion player Margaret Hunter and volunteer Reg Morris.

The choir members hail from a variety of communities across Essex including Basildon, Colchester, Dunmow, Maldon, Chelmsford, Harwich and Halstead.

The choir was born when Jennie Hammond, our Essex Community Team Leader, made a home visit to a blind veteran who told her of his desire to sing again.

Jennie says: “I visited Danny at home and was really moved by his story. His great love was singing but when he lost his sight he was unable to be accommodated by his old choir. I made it my mission to make sure Danny could sing as part of a choir group again.”

Danny, 77-year-old Army veteran from Harwich, recalls it well: “Jennie asked me what I missed most since my sight loss and without hesitation I told her it was being part of a singing group. Words cannot express how much joy Vision In Song has given me and I’m so thankful to Jennie and Blind Veterans UK for making it happen.”

Ted, 81 and from Basildon, is another of the choir members. He says: “I was a choir boy as a child and even sang at the Queen’s coronation at Westminster Abbey, having been classed as ‘pitch-perfect’ during Sandringham choir camp.”

Ted served within the Royal Artillery as a wireless operator between 1954 and 1960. It was later in life at age 62 when he was diagnosed with glaucoma which would eventually leave him with just one per cent vision in one eye and six per cent in the other.

"Vision In Song has given all of us a chance to sing again when we thought we never would. There is a real sense of camaraderie in the group and we all really look forward to rehearsals."

In November 2018, the choir was featured on BBC News.