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Blind veteran Bill teaches woodturning during lockdown

Published on 18 Jun 2021

Bill has been joining other veterans virtually to get involved with woodturning during the lockdown period.

Bill, who served in the Royal Artillery for five years, has been supported by us since 2010. Bill says:

“I have been woodturning since 1959! I’m a joiner by trade and I was introduced to woodturning during my apprenticeship. During lockdown, I was asked to help the woodturning group get off the ground. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing the veterans smile when they have made something new.”

Bill, 78, from Stanley, has been involved with the National Creative Project since it was launched in September. He continues:

“I had my introduction week at the Brighton centre. I remember being told during that week that there’s no such thing as can’t and that it’s important to focus on what you can do.”

Screenshot taken from a Teams call with a group of blind veterans
Woodturning group Teams call led by Bill
“The charity has given me opportunities that I am very grateful for. I am where I am because of the staff, other veterans and the volunteers at the charity. It’s because of the help I received. Woodturning allows you to express yourself. The charity has given me a few pieces of equipment for my workshop which has been great”.
Blind veteran
Photo of blind veteran Bill Mooney's woodturned apple
Blind veteran Bill Mooney's woodturned apple

Bill stopped woodturning for 14 months when he first lost his sight. However, he attended our training and rehabilitation centre in Llandudno for a woodturning week and started to take up the craft again. He says:

“I struggled to continue with woodturning because I couldn’t measure things anymore for example. You learn ways to adapt though and it’s great to be able to pass those skills now onto others.

“It’s a great form of escapism, especially in lockdown. While you’re creating something new you can just focus on that and not have to think about anything else. I have made all sorts from bowls to apples!”.

During his time at the charity, Bill has created pens for Blind Veterans UK Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex as well as HRH The Earl of Wessex and their children. He also made a bowl for the centenary of Blind Veterans UK.

Blind veteran Bill and social worker Elizabeth smiling as they hold a wooden carved bowl
Bill, right, presenting his centenary bowl

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