Living with sight loss takes courage

Former Sergeant in the Royal Air Force, Derek Payton is 79. He served for almost 15 years.

He was struggling to cope with retinitis pigmentosa – a condition that causes tunnel vision. Then he discovered Blind Veterans UK. Initially, we gave Derek a classic white cane and the training he needed to get around safely on his own.

"They give you self-confidence. You’re not on your own anymore."

But every day, Derek still really missed chatting with former comrades – which left him feeling isolated and alone. When he left the RAF, he struggled to adapt to life outside the Forces and to losing his sight. He was lost without the camaraderie and support he had found in the Services.

Derek says: "I was married to the Royal Air Force. I was lost as a civilian."

When he left the RAF, he struggled to adapt to life outside the Forces and to losing his sight. He was lost without the camaraderie and support he had found in the Services. Luckily, a friend put him in touch with Blind Veterans UK.

“An old RAF friend told me about Blind Veterans UK. One of the Community Support Officers came to see me right away. I can’t say how relieved I was when she told me they could help me”.

We took time to find the right equipment to help him communicate. We gave Derek a basic tablet computer with special software so that he can hear what he is doing. This means he can use email to stay in touch with his friends and family.

Will you help ensure we never have to give up on any blind veteran?

Derek received the bespoke training required to meet his own personal needs, however not all our veterans are the same. And it’s only due to the generosity of our kind supporter’s that were able to continue finding the right solution for each veteran who needs help in living a life after sight loss.

Blind veteran Derek and wife Joan

"It’s changed my life. I’m so different now. I was just talking to an old comrade who lives in Australia – now I feel like I have friends everywhere."

Derek hopes to visit our Brighton centre for more IT training soon, to help him learn how to use the internet. This would make a massive difference to his life, meaning he’ll be able to buy his shopping online. But like all of our work, this is only possible due to the generosity of our supporters.

At Blind Veterans UK, we take time to understand the individual needs of every blind veteran who turns to us for help, and to give them precisely the right kind of bespoke support so they can help them achieve their goals.

Donate today and we can ensure more brave blind ex-Service men and women live the purposeful and independent lives they want and deserve.

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