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Blind Veterans UK
We help blind and vision-impaired ex-military personnel
We help blind and vision-impaired ex-military personnel
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Today we are delighted to share the news that a new Certificate of Vision Impairment form is being introduced in England by the Public Health England ​and NHS​. This, along with new guidelines for ophthalmologists highlight the support and services of Blind Veterans UK. This means that for the first time, blind ex-Service men and women will be signposted to our services at the point of diagnosis, along with other sources of information and support.

We’ve been working behind the scenes on this for a few years, along with our partners across the sight loss sector: RNIB​, Visionary, Vision2020​, Guide Dogs​ and The Royal College of Ophthalmologists​. Almost one quarter of our veterans struggled with sight loss for six years or more before accessing our support. We hope that the new guidelines will help our vision-impaired ex-Service men and women find out about us much sooner in their sight loss journey so that they can start to enjoy a life beyond sight loss as early as possible.

Visit blindveterans.org.uk/newCVI to read the full story.

If you know anyone who served in the Armed Forces and is now struggling with sight loss, please refer them to us today. http://ow.ly/i/xsWZD http://ow.ly/i/xsWZU
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David might suffer from bilateral optic atrophy, but that hasn’t stopped him from lacing up his running shoes and doing what he loves.

In fact, when David crosses the finish line at the Royal Parks Half Marathon this October, he’ll have completed his 23rd fundraising challenge in just over ten years for our charity. A truly incredible achievement.

David says: “There’s no stopping me now! There’s been no stopping me since 3 June 2008. When I first started receiving support from the charity I told them I liked sport. Not long after that I was invited to the sports department at the Brighton centre, and from there things just spiralled out of control!”

David, who won the Outstanding Achievement Award at out Founder’s Day Awards in 2012, has raised an incredible £2,312 for the charity overall. His contributions have meant that even more blind veterans will be able to follow their dreams and lead independent lives beyond sight loss.

Thank you, David, for your tireless work and for remaining an inspiration to us all. We look forward to cheering you on, once again, come race day.

Good luck to everyone who is taking part and training in preparation!
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Our Brighton centre recently welcomed seven working age-veterans for the first fitness training week of the year. Making the most of the summer weather, the veterans could be seen flexing their muscles on the front lawn and even made it down to the water to try their hand at wakeboarding and kitesurfing!

Louise Timms, Brighton centre Sports & Recreation Manager, says: “It was a fantastic week overall. Gruelling, but equally rewarding and it was great to see so many of our veterans throw themselves into it.

“We’re already looking forward to welcoming them back next time!”
Credit to blind veteran Mark Pile for the fantastic images! To see more pictures visit: facebook.com/pg/mipphotography/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1388723401205824 http://ow.ly/i/xFFYe http://ow.ly/i/xFFYx
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Over the last two years, blind veterans have come together at our Brighton centre to form a Radio Play Society. Regular performers and guests alike meet together weekly to recite all kinds of plays.

This week they finished The Mystery of Sunken Ships, a stand alone play part of the Dangerous Assignments series. It’s an extraordinary drama of spies and intrigue, mystery and murder and stars our hero, secret service agent Steve Mitchell.

The background: British ships carrying important cargo across Asian seas have been sunk. The mission: to find out who is sinking the ships and stop them.
Will our hero stop the villains? Will he live to tell the tale?

Listen in to our blind veterans’ rendition and find out: https://audioboom.com/posts/6196221-the-mystery-of-the-sunken-ships

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A Senior enabler from Exeter is preparing to climb Everest Base Camp with a blind colleague to raise funds for our charity.

Steve Parfit, 45 and from Exminster, will be attempting the 17,600ft climb on February 1 2018, with the entire trek expected to take 17 days. He says: “To be honest I’m not really sure why I signed up to it! I am excited, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pretty nervous too!”

Steve and his friend, Stuart, who is completely blind, both work at The WESC Foundation, a specialist centre for young people and adults with vision-impairment in Exeter.

Steve explains: “Stuart’s got an incredibly infectious go get ‘em attitude, so once he’d heard of another blind chap who’d climbed all the way to the top of Mt. Everest, there was no stopping him.

“When he initially suggested it to me I told him where he could get off! Eventually we started looking at Base Camp as an option; admittedly more of a trek than a climb but still a brutal test against the elements.”

Steve himself has a special connection with our charity: “My father, Gerald, began receiving the support of Blind Veterans UK in 2010. He Served in the Second World War and began losing his sight in the 1980s. They’re very good with him and provide him with an awful lot of support.

“In 2015 he was invited to their Buckingham Palace Garden Party with my mother, it was an incredible experience for them.”

Steve and Stuart will be donating the money they raise to Blind Veteran UK, the WESC Foundation and The Nayamba Trust. To give your support visit: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=blindclimb18
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So far this year, we’ve held 36 reunions across the country. These are a chance for our blind veterans to socialise, meet new friends and share their experiences. Reunions also provide a great opportunity for our blind veterans to learn more about what we offer and meet our staff.

Last year we had a total of 1359 members, partners and widows attending our reunions.

Our Liverpool reunion this year brought together 220 guests. One of these guests was blind veteran Victor Walters. Aged 85 and from St. Helens, this was the third reunion Victor has attended.

After joining the Royal Army Ordnance Corps for National Service in 1950, Victor was discharged as a Private in 1952 but remained in part time National Service until May 1956. A member since August 2013, he suffers from age-related macular degeneration.

Speaking of the day, Victor says: “It was excellent. The presentations were good, especially the one from another blind veteran. It was very moving. The meal was also excellent and the wine.”

“From going to the reunions I’ve made friends with a blind veteran, Arthur and his wife Beryl. We exchanged numbers and since then have been in regular contact. I recently went on a week’s holiday with them to Grange-over-Sands, staying in their caravan.”

“Blind Veteran’s UK makes a difference to so many people. Their support is fantastic. All the staff are lovely and always really helpful.”
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Computer whizz and blind veteran Marjorie Hanson can now keep in touch with her grandson in America and nephew in Canada thanks to our specialist IT training.

Marjorie, 94, is pictured here in the computer room of our Brighton centre, where she learned to use a tablet and Skype her relatives.

Marjorie joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in 1941 and was stationed in Didcot, where she worked as a filing clerk until 1945. Marjorie was diagnosed with choroidal neovascular membrane and high myopia later in life, but she hasn’t let that stop her learning a new skill.

Marjorie says: “The support from Blind Veterans UK has really given me a new lease of life. Even my grandson is impressed at how well I can navigate my tablet.”
Marjorie is already planning her next stay at our Llandudno centre this October, where she will meet up with two friends she has met through the charity and brush up on her IT knowledge.

If you or someone you know is struggling with sight loss and could be eligible for free, lifelong support like Marjorie, get in touch.

blindveterans.org.uk/marjoriehanson #noonealone
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One of our amazing volunteers, Robin, has been helping Durham blind veteran Michael reignite his interest in museums.

Together they have been visiting various museums in the North East. Robin explains: “Michael likes museums but unfortunately his enthusiasm is not shared by his family, so he rarely gets the chance to go to them!”

So far they have been to the National Railway Museum, Durham Botanical Gardens and Newcastle Discovery Museum.

If anyone has any suggestions for future museums for them to visit, please add these to comments below.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with us please visit: blindveterans.org.uk/volunteer.
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Last week, Air Commodore Frank Clifford visited our Brighton centre. He was joined by Wing Commander Brock, as well as a number of members of the South Downs Branch Royal Air Force Police Association (RAFPA) for what proved to be fantastic day for the centre and its visiting veterans.

Lesley Garven, Brighton Centre Manager says: “We were thrilled to open our doors and welcome Air Commodore Clifford and Wing Commander Brock to our Brighton centre, as well as several members of the South Downs Branch Royal Air Force Police Association. It provided for a fantastic occasion and was the kind of event that our blind veterans enjoy enormously.”

“With the charity aiming to increase the number of veterans it supports to over 8,000 by 2022, it’s important that we take every opportunity to highlight and publicise the fantastic facilities we have and the support we provide.” http://ow.ly/i/xsGiS
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