Steve's story

Steve Sparkes receives free support from Blind Veterans UK
Steve Sparkes receives free support from Blind Veterans UK

 

If it hadn't been for Blind Veterans UK I would probably still be stuck abroad. But now I can go out and compete with any sighted person.

Blind Veterans UK have given me a stepping stone into a new world.

Steve lost his sight after a training accident applying for the SBS in the Falklands. During a dive he was starved of oxygen, because his gas tanks weren't set up properly. He was rescued and hospitalised, and although he made an immediate recovery he started to lose his sight after a couple of months. Eighteen months later he was discharged because of his sight loss and moved to Malta. Steve struggled to hold a job down as his sight worsened.


In Malta, someone told him about Blind Veterans UK. We paid for his flight back to Britain to come to our Brighton centre. Steve started a six-month training programme, where he learnt different ways to regain the independence he thought he had lost.


Using a CCTV reader to make the most of his remaining vision, Steve saw his daughter's face for the first time. He also learnt to cook again with specific tools and techniques. With our help he could read again, complete crossword puzzles, and has also started a college course.


One of the things Steve has enjoyed most has been rediscovering sport. He's really made the most of the opportunities we've given him: rock climbing, swimming, canoeing and even running a marathon.

 

We launched the No One Alone campaign to reach out to more people like Steve. It is estimated that there are 68,000 plus blind veterans who could be eligible for our help but are unaware of it. If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces or National Service who now suffers with sight loss (including age-related sight loss) request our free support by calling 0800 389 7979.

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