Volunteer Harriet wins award for the companionship she provides blind veteran Audrey

16 January 2018 10:00

For nearly two years now, volunteer Harriet Garner from Manchester has been visiting 91-year-old blind veteran, Audrey Manning at her home in Cheshire. Coming along with Harriet on the home visits, is her adorable son Jack, who adds some extra joy to each visit.

At the end of last year our staff and volunteer awards were combined into the Blind Veterans UK One Team Awards. In line with our new charity values, these recognised those who have made an exceptional contribution to our charity. Harriet was one of the volunteers nominated at the awards for the companionship she has provided Audrey and subsequently won.

Harriet Garner collecting her One Team Award from CEO Nick Caplin

Audrey says: “Harriet visits me on a very regular basis after I was referred by my Community Support Worker for a volunteer home visitor due to the isolation I was feeling at home.” Audrey describes Harriet as being “like a breath of fresh air” every time she visits.

When Harriet became pregnant with her first baby she continued to visit Audrey and after the birth kept in touch by telephone until she was able to visit with baby Jack. Audrey explains: “Little Jack is such good fun. I so look forward to their visits and spending the afternoon with them. We talk and talk, we get on so well.”

Audrey holding Jack

Though Audrey has the support of her family, she explains that Harriet brings a different conversation: “I have lost all my friends through age or them moving away so having someone to talk to whose different from family is something I really look forward to.”

As well as home visits, Audrey and Harriet enjoy days out together. One of these days out, included a trip to the park. “I never thought I’d go on the park swings again! I get out so much more now with Harriet and Jack.”

Audrey and Jack looking at the Synapptic tablet together

Jack has taken a particular interest in discovering all of the fascinating VI equipment Audrey has including her Synapptic tablet as you can see in the picture above.

Blind veteran Audrey Manning looking at baby Jack through a magnifier.
Using the magnifier enables Audrey to have a clearer image of Jack’s face.

Harriet tells us: "Jack had a lovely time visiting Audrey and learning about all the tools she has to help her! Poor Audrey had to demonstrate her talking watch at least 200 times!"

Blind veteran Audrey Manning with volunteer Harriet Garner's son, Jack.

As well as using the equipment together, Audrey and Jack also have a shared interest in music. This rainmaker was made by Audrey during an activity week at the Llandudno centre last year.

A beneficiary of our charity since December 2013, Audrey has age-related macular degeneration which causes her to have no perception of light in both eyes. Formerly a WRN, Audrey was with the last group of Wrens at the base when it closed after the war.

We look forward to seeing even more endearing pictures of Audrey and Jack on future visits!