94-year-old Jim Hooper joined the Territorial Army in 1939 before transferring to the Glider Pilot Regiment in the Army Air Corps three years later.
In 1944, Jim was involved in Operation Market Garden where he was taken prisoner by German troops and held as a prisoner of war for seven months. When he was released, he rejoined his regiment and left the Service in 1946 as a staff sergeant.
It was years later, when Jim was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma, that he was slowly robbed of his sight. Four years ago he was registered blind. Jim had long been a supporter of Blind Veterans UK and was aware of the support available to veterans with sight loss, which meant he got in touch with the charity as soon as he could.
Jim said: “Losing my sight was devastating. I’d been driving all my life, and the location I was living in at the time has very little public transport, so I had to rely on other people and taxis. As a supporter of Blind Veterans UK, I realised that they didn’t just support those blinded in service, so I got in touch.
“My youngest son and his family live close and provide wonderful support for me and my wife, including going out for a weekly beer. My eldest son lives further away, but the technology provided by Blind Veterans allows him to help me in many ways including ordering my weekly groceries, various admin things and we review and tidy up my systems when he comes to see me.
“Blind Veterans UK has been marvellous, just so supportive in every way - particularly at the Brighton centre and the visits from my welfare officer. Blind Veterans UK has helped me regain my independence. I’d encourage anyone who may be eligible for support from Blind Veterans UK to get in touch with them.”
Jim’s daughter, Maundy Todd, said “My father is the most resourceful, innovative person in dealing with whatever life throws at him, but losing his sight has been tough. Blind Veterans UK has been amazing for my father, both in the support available and in the generosity and kindness of the people who work there.”