Tribute to Jennie Hammond
We are extremely sad to announce the passing of Jennie Hammond, who dedicated nearly 20 years of her life to supporting blind veterans in Essex and Hertforshire. We will always remember her.
Rebuilding veterans' lives was Jennie's passion and her vocation. Her commitment to blind veterans was exemplary and we know that she changed and saved lives through her diligence, professionalism, and great compassion for our beneficiaries.
Jennie's passion for rebuilding lives
Jennie joined our charity in 2004 as a Welfare Officer, providing one-to-one support to blind veterans in their homes and the local community.
From 2017 she moved into the role of Community Team Leader, leading a team of Community Support Workers, Rehabilitation Officers, Volunteer Coordinators and Administrators, to deliver vital support for blind veterans and rebuild their lives.
Many of our blind veterans cite Jennie as the person who was there at the lowest moment in their life and it was through her care and support that they could rebuild and live their lives to the full.
She went above and beyond to support her team and colleagues and was a long standing member of our staff consultation group, ensuring that team members had the opportunity to feedback on key issues affecting them across the charity. Jennie also actively fundraised to give back to the charity and ensure our work could continue supporting blind veterans.
If you knew Jennie and would like to share a memory, photo, or message, please visit her tribute page.
Jennie at work
Founding a choir that gives purpose
In 2018 Jennie established the first and only choir in the World made up exclusively of blind veterans, Vision in Song. The choir was born when Jennie made a home visit to a blind veteran who told her of his desire to sing again.
She said at the time: “It all started with a visit to one of our veterans called Danny. I was really moved by his story. His great love was singing but when he lost his sight he was unable to be accommodated by his old choir. I made it my mission to make sure Danny could sing as part of a choir group again.”
Choir member Danny said at the time: “Jennie asked me what I missed most since my sight loss and without hesitation I told her it was being part of a singing group. Words cannot express how much joy Vision in Song has given me and I’m so thankful to Jennie and Blind Veterans UK for making it happen.”
The choir has become a real lifeline for its members, providing the companionship which is crucial in combating the isolation that is so often felt in older people, particularly if they have a disability like sight loss. Since 2018 it has gone from strength to strength with a string of performances, a music video which you can watch below, and even a debut EP, ‘Sing As We Go’, which was released on Spotify and Apple Music.
Blind veteran Colin is one of the current choir members. He says: “Being in the choir has become such an important part of my life. The feeling of belonging to a group in old age is very important to us. We all have each other’s phone numbers and regularly keep in touch between rehearsals.”
Vision in Song's music video for 'Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag'
Employee of the year award
Jennie was still there for our blind veterans as she battled her illness with strength, determination and positivity. In recognition of this she has posthumously been shortlisted for an Investors in People Community Employee of the Year Award.