Bernard and Brenda's story

Brenda and Bernard
"Since getting involved with Blind Veterans UK, things have definitely changed for the better"

For years Bernard was without his sight before realising he was eligible for our support.

Bernard and Brenda's story Watch more

National Service veteran Bernard and his wife Brenda talk about their experience with Blind Veterans UK

 

Bernard joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) for National Service in January 1955 until 1957, which saw him serve in Hong Kong. After his National Service he rejoined the S.E.B. and was awarded the O.B.E in 1988.


Years after serving Bernard started to suffer from age-related macular degeneration.  His wife Brenda recalls the experience "it quickly became clear that Bernard's sight was getting worse and he needed someone with him most of the time. I am happy to help, but since becoming his carer, my life has changed - it centres around Bernard now.
"My first thought with everything, if I'm going to go out or if I'm going to do something, is of Bernard and if he'll be ok. It can get stressful at times - I don't go out as much as I used to and when I do go out, I always try to fit things in around him.


Bernard said: "I had no idea that I would be eligible to join Blind Veterans UK as I did not think that people who had served for National Service would count. I thought it was only a place for brave soldiers who had been injured in wartime. Even after I had first talked to someone at the charity, it took a while for me to believe that I was eligible.
Bernard was shocked to learn that there are thousands more people like him who are not getting the support they deserve.


Bernard said: "I was absolutely amazed to discover that there could be so many blind veterans out there who could be eligible for the charity's support but do not realise this. It is quite staggering. It is a terrible shame because Blind Veterans UK is a wonderful organisation."


Since he first joined Blind Veterans UK, Bernard and his wife Brenda have been able to meet and form friendships with people going through the same challenges that sight loss can present.


Bernard said: "It is helpful to get to know other people who are suffering from the same difficulties that I have faced, and to learn from them through their experiences.


"Having one-to-one sessions with a ROVI [Rehabilitation Officer for the Vision Impaired] was extremely helpful when I first joined, and my wife and I have enjoyed relaxing breaks at the charity's centres. As well as this I have been able to use the swimming pool at the centre in Brighton, which is fabulous."


Brenda says: "The charity really has made a difference to us. Since getting involved with Blind Veterans UK, things have definitely changed for the better - all the things we've done and all the people we've met, it's all helped us both to adjust to life with sight loss.


Blind Veterans UK recently launched its No One Alone campaign which aims to reach out to the tens of thousands ex-Service personnel who could be benefiting from our services but they either do not know about Blind Veterans UK or they do not know that they are eligible for our services. If you are a vision impaired ex-Service man or woman, or care for someone who is, find out more at: www.noonealone.org.uk or telephone: 0800 389 7979.

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