91-year-old Cedric Hollands from Ashford, Kent, lost his sight in 2005 to age-related macular degeneration.
In 2008 he started to receive support from Blind Veterans UK and since then he been able to recover his independence. Despite being a widower, Cedric is able to live safely in his own home because of the training he has received from the charity.
Cedric said: “I would encourage veterans and their families or carers to get in touch with Blind Veterans UK for support. The charity has made a big difference to my life over the last few years. I so appreciate what they have done for me that in December I was involved in an advertising campaign they did.”
Cedric joined the Royal Navy aged just 15 in 1939 and he served throughout the war and into the 1950s. Cedric’s service during the war saw him play a part in crucial naval battles, including the D-Day landings, the Battle of Matapan where five Italian ships were sunk and the Battle of Crete which left his ship – the HMS Warspite – with a big hole in its side. He was also involved in the fighting with Japan at the end of the war in the Pacific.
Many years after his Navy career had ended, Cedric was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration at the age of 81. Over time the condition has slowly robbed him of his sight, meaning he can now see very little.
Cedric is thankful therefore to have come across Blind Veterans UK. He fortunately found out he may be eligible for support from the charity after a chance encounter on an overseas cruise, when his failing eyesight led to him mistaking one of the charity’s beneficiaries for his wife.
Cedric said: “Once I heard about what Blind Veterans UK could do for someone like me I knew I really ought to get in touch with them. Blind Veterans UK has had a really positive impact on my life. By providing me with a magnifier, they have enabled me to just about see photographs of my grandchildren and great grandchildren. It has definitely made me much happier.
“Meeting other veterans also helps to keep me positive. The charity has provided me with social opportunities which is fantastic. Speaking to other veterans with severe sight loss is both reassuring and enjoyable.”
Cedric said: “Losing my sight was extremely hard. Knowing there are other veterans living with sight loss has really helped me come to terms with the deterioration of my own sight. I’d encourage anyone who may be eligible for support from Blind Veterans UK to get in touch with them - it has given me an entirely new lease of life.”