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Founders Day 2022

Published on 17 Mar 2022

Join us in celebrating the belief that sight loss should not prevent anyone from leading the life they choose.

Sir Arthur Pearson, the Founder of Blind Veterans UK, secured our first home, St Dunstan’s Lodge in Regents Park and we moved there at the end of March 1915 - for decades our beneficiaries were known as St Dunstaners. 

Each year, we mark this day by celebrating the achievements and spirit of our blind veterans.

Here are the stories of some of our inspiring beneficiaries.

Meet Barrie

A photo of blind veteran Barrie holding up one of his photographs of an elephant and its calves
Blind veteran Barrie pictured holding up one of his photographs

Since becoming a blind veteran in 2006, Barrie has always shown how truly supportive he is of fellow veterans as a volunteer for our charity, and in his local community.

Barrie’s sight loss doesn’t stop him pursuing his hobbies of model making and photography. He has won several awards for his photos and is always happy to pass on his knowledge to other veterans, inspiring a few to reconnect with their hobbies. Barrie had an exhibition locally but did not tell them of his sight loss as he wanted his work to be judged without any sympathy. 

He is an avid model maker. He has made many models over the years and is in the process of putting together a model of the battleship Bismarck. 

During the pandemic and many lockdowns, Barrie has switched his volunteering to telephone befriending. He speaks to several veterans and has a lovely way of supporting those new to the charity, making them feel a part of something in a time when we have been unable to operate as normal.

Meet Andrew

A photo of blind veteran Andrew, right, wearing his military badges
Blind veteran Andrew, right

Andrew is a keen runner, a sport that has greatly helped him on his therapeutic journey. This year, he has already completed the Farnborough Half Marathon and Brighton Half Marathon.

Some of the events he has participated in while raising money for our charity include the London Marathon (including the 2020 Guinness World Record of most participants), Great South Run and Wellesley 10KM.

Andrew is an inspiration for taking up this activity which he has grown to love. He continues to challenge himself for the better, while helping others through his fundraising efforts for the charity.

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Meet Sam

A photo of blind veteran Sam, pictured smiling, wearing headphones while and speaking into a microphone while hosting his radio show
Blind veteran Sam, pictured hosting his radio show

Sam has been a blind veteran since 2016 and during this time has consistently been involved in fundraising activities, promoting Blind Veterans UK and organising events for local veterans. Some of these include:

  • Organising a country and western themed fundraiser evening
  • Organising a sponsored sea swim event and fishing trip
  • Entertaining at local events for blind veterans, playing big band music and providing commentary on the history of the songs he played
  • Promoting our charity on his radio stations (he has three!)

He has unlimited enthusiasm and is always full of fabulous ideas to benefit his fellow veterans.

Meet Yvonne

A photo of blind veteran Dudley, right, and his wife Yvonne, left sitting on chairs while linking arms
Blind veteran Dudley, right, and his wife Yvonne, left

Founders Day is not only about celebrating the achievements of our blind veterans, but also those who support our blind veterans, such as Yvonne.

Yvonne is the wife of blind veteran Dudley. She is the full-time unregistered carer of her husband who is living with cancer. This means that Yvonne’s support in all aspects of daily living is vital for Dudley.

She has had to remain emotionally strong for herself and her husband. Whilst there can be very low days, Yvonne encourages them to be thankful for every day they can spend together. This alone takes a huge amount of character and personality to maintain positive towards what must be a very difficult future to face.

Yvonne’s story is one of strength in the hardest of times and deserves to be recognised. We take this time to thank each and every carer supporting our blind veterans.

Meet Bill

A photo of blind veteran Bill, pictured smiling and sitting next to his artwork
Blind veteran Bill, pictured with his artwork

Since the pandemic, Bill has embraced the remote support offered to our blind veterans.

He takes part in painting activities as part of our National Creative Project. Although Bill is not a complete beginner in art, he has learnt to adapt due to his sight loss. His skills have improved significantly since he started taking part in the project and he finds the project so rewarding. Bill also takes part in the telephone group call, where all blind veterans participating in the painting project meet virtually and support each other. In the past, Bill has contributed an art piece to our annual auction.

As well as being involved in the National Creative Project, Bill also takes part in a monthly Second World War telephone social group. Having received the Legion D’Honneur award in 2019, Bill shares his experiences with fellow blind veterans.

Bill remains very motivated, baking on a weekly basis and he shares his bakes with others. He really embraces creativity and thinks like an artist – his mind always on creative ideas, concepts and projects, his heart always on his family and exemplifies positivity. He is truly inspirational to all those that know him.

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