David and Marion's story
Both veterans have a close connection to Manchester, the home of our statue.
David grew up in Manchester and worked as a mill worker in Salford before joining the Army aged just 17. He joined 1/8th Lancashire Fusiliers and was sent out to fight in Egypt and then on to Gallipoli in Turkey.
While serving in Turkey, David was shot in the head and left for dead. He was 18 and completely blind. Our founder Sir Arthur Pearson visited David in hospital and later brought him to our then headquarters in Regent’s Park. We supported David to learn Braille, taught him typing and helped him train in joinery and poultry farming. These skills set David up for an independent, fulfilling life and he went on to marry and become a successful farmer.
Marion, like David, is a born and bred Mancunian.
She joined the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) in 1951 and was posted to St. John’s Wood in London where she worked in catering.
She says: “I was so proud to be in the WRAF and I loved every moment of it. Blind Veterans UK has given me back the same camaraderie I enjoyed when I was in the Forces.”
Marion is now widowed and plays a very active role in her community, singing for her local choral society. She began to lose her sight due to macular degeneration in 2009, an experience she found difficult to come to terms with.
"I was 85 and all of a sudden I had to learn to lead a new life. I was always losing things because I couldn’t see them, and I became really frightened about going out alone. Blind Veterans UK turned my life around"Marion
We’ve helped Marion make friends with other blind veterans in the local community through social events, and provided her with equipment like a talking microwave and an electronic magnifier so she can continue to live independently.
Marion says her confidence has been completely rebuilt with our support, and, like David, she continues to take on life’s challenges with a lot of enthusiasm.