Lord Fraser and Colin's story
Our former Chairman Lord Fraser and our current President Colin Williamson
Lord Fraser was born in Eastbourne and served in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and then on secondment in the Gloucestershire Regiment. Aged just 18, he was blinded by a bullet during the Battle of the Somme.
Although our founder, Sir Arthur Pearson, was away at the time, he wrote a letter to Fraser while he was in hospital and arranged for his personal assistant to gift Fraser with a braille watch. This had great significance for Fraser and we still give all our new beneficiaries a watch - although a talking watch - today.
After leaving hospital Fraser moved to our St Dunstan’s Lodge. There he learnt braille and to type and was placed in charge of our ‘after care’ work not long after joining the charity. At the age of just 24 Fraser succeeded Sir Arthur Pearson as our Chairman.
He held this position for an incredible 53 years, championing the cause of blinded ex-Service men and women. He went on to become a member of the London County Council, was elected as MP for the seat of North St Pancras and later became a Governor of the BBC. He was knighted in 1934 and in 1958 became Lord Fraser of Lonsdale.
Lord Fraser is a shining example of how so many of our blind veterans go on to improve the lives of so many other people.
Our current President Colin Williamson is following in those footsteps.
Colin served with the Royal Artillery in the UK, BAOR and Northern Ireland from 1972 to 1977 and left as a Gunner. He started receiving support from Blind Veterans UK in 2003, many years after his service, after a serious assault caused his sight loss.
“As a blind veteran myself, I’ve seen first-hand how the support of Blind Veterans UK can transform lives. The charity continues with the same vital work it did more than 100 years ago, and the need for its services is only growing.”Colin Williamson - President of Blind Veterans UK
Colin has volunteered and worked for Blind Veterans UK for more than 15 years and, among other things, leads ‘Project Gemini’, our exchange program between blind veterans from the UK and USA and more recently South Africa. Colin became the sixth President of Blind Veterans UK in 2017.
Both of these blind veterans have not only achieved their own personal victory over blindness, they have also led the way for thousands of others to do so.