World War II veteran celebrates centenary of military charity
1 April 2015 12:13
A local veteran who has received vital support from Blind Veterans UK will be celebrating the centenary of the charity at a special reunion event this week (29/04).
James Edwards, from Leeds will be reuniting 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.
James served in the Royal Air Force with the Intelligence Corps and was deployed to the Middle East during World War II. Serving from 1940 to 1945, he was discharged as a Flight Lieutenant. He will join fellow veterans at the special lunch in Leeds.
James has received help and support from Blind Veterans UK since 2011 and recently celebrated his 102nd birthday while at the charity's centre in Llandudno. He lost his sight due to macular degeneration.
James says: "When you first lose your sight it's incredibly difficult to live by yourself, in the first year I really struggled and felt very isolated."
Blind Veterans UK supported James to help him live independently. A welfare officer from the charity visited James and helped him reorganise his kitchen and bathroom to make life a bit easier.
James says: "I felt scared to leave my own house but I now frequently visit the Blind Veterans UK centres. They're like a home away from home, I always feel very safe there. It's wonderful to know that there is an organisation who really understands the problems of sight loss."
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 James. 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.