veteran Bernard and his wife Brenda talk about their experience
with Blind Veterans UK
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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
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.
National charity Blind Veterans UK support ex-Service men and women with sight loss
Learn about how you can support ex-service men and women with sight loss
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