Falklands 40: one year on
The 40th anniversary of the Falklands kept blind veterans Alan and Terry busy last year – reunions, news stories and November’s Remembrance Sunday parade.
Both were at the Cenotaph to represent our charity and to march with their former colleagues. Alan says:
“It was absolutely exhilarating and wonderful to be there as a Falklands veteran on the 40th anniversary and pay my respects. I was also proud to march with the blind veterans as well. It's always an emotional and wonderful time to be able to march with Blind Veterans UK.”
What our veterans have been up to since
Former Royal Marine Alan still struggles to believe that 40 years have passed since he went to war.
“The brain tells us one thing and the body is telling us something completely different”.
At just 18 when he went to the Falklands, Alan is one of the youngest and he is painfully aware that, each year, fewer and fewer are there to remember.
Royal Navy veteran Terry has also been enjoying some calmer time.
He likes to visit our centre of wellbeing, and meet other blind veterans.
“I'm a great advocate of centre-based rehabilitation because you help each other.”
Receiving our support
Recently, Alan’s Community Support Worker visited him. Alan explained the problems he had using his cane on the damaged roads and pavements. Each dip and pothole jolted him and made the cane jab into his stomach. Now, Alan’s been issued with a new cane that he’s going to road test. The new cane is spring loaded, so if you jolt against something, it takes the impact and then bounces over it.
The charity is also providing him with a cross trainer. He plans to use it to get rid of the stresses of his work day.
“I can't go out running. I can't do the sort of things that I'd like to do and I don't have time to travel to gyms and do that sort of thing. So that's helpful for me”.
Terry has been receiving support since he lost his sight in the Falklands War: “The support has gone on for me and my family since 1982, it’s been constant.” He’s used a cane the entire time and still uses braille, preferring it to other aids. But Terry does enjoy his Amazon Echo device, especially using the voice command to turn on the radio.
“It’s right there next to my keyboard, the size of a hockey puck and I just say, “Alexa, play Talk Radio” and it’ll play. Then I say, “Alexa off”.”
Overwhelmed by the response
Alan is pleased and moved that there was such an interest in the Falklands 40 appeal.
“It's nice knowing that the public not only donated but also that they still remember what we went through at the time. It’s so nice to know that we're still remembered”.
Terry is equally touched, and proud to have helped raise money for Blind Veterans UK.