A pair who share both a Service history and a love story in common.

Alfred ‘Jackie’ Back served with the Royal Navy during the First World War and came to us in August 1915. He lost his sight as a result of meningitis aged just 18 and joined other blind veterans at our then headquarters at St Dunstan’s Lodge in Regent’s Park.

We taught Jackie to read Braille and he trained in skills like mat making, which helped him find work and provide for his future family. Jackie married his childhood sweetheart Kitty in 1916 at a church ceremony which was followed by a joyful reception at St Dunstan’s Lodge. According to our magazine, the Review, Jackie’s sailor friends ‘burst lustily into singing ‘Every Nice Girl Loves a Sailor’ while the bride used a sailor’s cutlass to cut the wedding cake!

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Jackie was just 18 when he lost his sight as a result of meningitis.
WWI blind veteran Jackie Back on his wedding day
Jackie Back celebrating his wedding day.

Lindy, 71, who joined our charity 97 years after Jackie, has also received our support since losing her sight to diabetes.

Like Jackie, she served in the Navy, joining the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in 1965. It was a career she loved, and one that sadly came to an end following her diagnosis.

Just like Jackie however, Lindy wasn’t one to let her sight loss hold her back. Since joining our charity in 2012 she has benefited from equipment like a CCTV reader, which allows her to read her post and documents independently, and enjoyed meeting other blind veterans at events in the local community.

"Losing your sight is a very isolating experience. My confidence took a knock and although I kept myself busy, it was through meeting other blind veterans like me that I realised there was still so much that I could do and enjoy despite being blind."
Lindy
Blind veterans Graham and Lindy outside Harcourt Street
Lindy and Graham are both blind veterans who met through one of our social events.

It was at one of these social reunions that Lindy’s own love story began when she met fellow blind veteran Graham. The pair are now happily settled in Wiltshire with Graham’s guide dog Clyde.

Both Lindy and Jackie have helped hundreds of blind veterans like themselves, Jackie through supporting veterans blinded in the Second World War at our base in Church Stretton, and Lindy through volunteering as a public speaker and advocate for our charity in her local community.

 

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