75 Years of support

Blind Veterans Uk is a charity that helps blind & partly sighted veterans. Founded in 1915 by Sir Arthur Pearson, who owned the Evening Standard and founded the Daily Express, the charity became known as St Dunstan’s. Having lost his own sight through glaucoma, he was shocked at society’s attitude to blindness. He decided to help those who had lost their vision in the First World War by giving them the care and rehabilitation they needed to lead constructive, self-sufficient lives.

To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the charity’s iconic Art Deco style building at Ovingdean near Brighton, Blind Veterans UK is hosting a free public exhibition of photographs chronicling their work. Local photographer Darren Baldwin (@BWDrj on Twitter) took a range of photo’s & portraits to bring the exhibition up to date. You can visit the exhibition from 1000 until 1600 on every weekend day in May, for more information contact esther.freeman@blindveterans.org.uk or call 01273 391464. The exhibition looks well worth a visit if only to see the stunning looking building I cycle past every day on my way to work!

The charity gives veterans support to live fulfilling lives despite sight loss caused by illness, accident, old age or the recent influx of personnel blinded in service in Iraq & Afghanistan. Their current “noone alone” campaign is intended to highlight to anyone who knows a serviceman or woman with a vision impairment that they are there to help, no matter how long or when the person served their country.

As I have mentioned before I was medically discharged from the RAF because of hearing loss, something I really should have pointed out to the guys I rode with at Tedworth House last weekend as I have to take my hearing aids off to wear my cycle helmet, which increases the risk of me looking blankly at people because I havent heard what people are saying and am frantically hoping they will repeat what they said so I can lipread!

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The relatively minor irritation of not hearing so well doesn’t even begin to help me imagine life without sight, I can lip read a bit, I can read, I can watch TV (with subtitles) I can see the people who are important to me all things we take for granted and really shouldn’t. Being lucky enough to have met some of the guys injured in service and receiving help from Blind Veterans UK, Blesma, Canine Partners, Combat Stress, Help for Heroes and the other charities that provide support to serving and ex serving personnel has shown me just how appreciative these self effacing, modest guys are of the support they receive.
The fact that the building still known to locals as St Dunstan’s is as necessary and as busy after 75 years demonstrates how important it is that facilities like Tedworth House are built now and designed to be able to provide support for very many years and how important continued support to the charities who assist our veterans is going to be not only now but in the future too.

If you want to do something to help these charities they all have their own websites and fundraising pages or you can donate to my fundraising page for teh Help for Heroes Big Battlefield Bike Ride by clicking here

Thanks for reading

Simon

 

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