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Wiltshire blind veteran celebrates centenary of military charity

Date
1 May 2015 12:28

A local veteran who has received support from Blind Veterans UK celebrated the centenary of the charity at a special reunion event this week (30/04).

Ron Jefferies, 80 and from Trowbridge, reunited with several other veterans helped by Blind Veterans UK to mark the military charity's 100 years of proud service to blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

He served his national service in the Wiltshire Regiment, and served in Devizes, Warminster, Tidworth, Netley and Aldershot from 1954 to 1956 and joined fellow veterans with his wife Joan at the special lunch in the Mercure Swindon South Marston hotel this week.

Ron has received vital help and support from Blind Veterans UK since 2006.  He lost his sight due to age related macular degeneration and was put in touch with the charity through another veteran supported by Blind Veterans UK that he met through his local blind society.

Ron says: "There is a lot you have to get used to when you lose your sight. Simple things like not being able to read anything such as instructions anymore or carry on driving, really affect you confidence."

Ron has received help from Blind Veterans UK to allow him to learn new skills and keep living as independently as possible. He has particularly enjoyed being trained as a picture framer at the Blind Veterans UK centre in Brighton.

He says: "Blind Veterans UK has had such a positive impact on my life. The special CCTV reader is the best piece of equipment they have given me. I use it every day for reading letters and important documents. The training and equipment they have given me have allowed me to keep the independence I thought I'd lost.

"I'm very much looking forward to this special centenary reunion. There is such camaraderie between all the people that have been helped by the charity and it's good to chat to people going through the same things as you."

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

For 100 years, 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.

Blind Veterans UK is currently reaching out to more veterans like Ron.  If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces, or those who did National Service, and is now battling severe sight problems, Blind Veterans UK may be able to provide them and their family with a lifetime's practical and emotional support for free.

Call freephone - 0800 389 7979 or go to www.noonealone.org.uk now.