Three blind veterans have made history today as they become the first civilian team to compete at the Pace Sticking World Championships.
The championships take place at Sandhurst and the team included three of our blind veterans Kevin Alderton, Billy Baxter and Steve Birkin. They were led by the sighted Drum Major Tony Taylor and took on pace sticking teams from across the Armed Forces and around the world.
Team member and blind veteran Billy Baxter was delighted to be able to return to drill training after losing his sight.
He says: “Losing your sight hits you hard. For a long time you don’t think you’ll be able to do anything again which almost makes you want to give up. Luckily, Blind Veterans UK was here for all of us and they help you realise that there is so much more you that you can do than not."
Read more here: http://www.blindveteransblog.org.uk/community-and-events/blind-veterans-make-history
Former prisoner of war and blind veteran Tom Clough will make an emotional return to South Korea to honour his fallen comrades for the last time.
Tom joined the Royal Artillery in 1945 as a boy soldier and was later attached to the Gloucestershire Regiment and sent to the Battle of the Imjin River in Korea.
After fighting against the odds Tom and his comrades were taken prisoner. Tom tried to escape but was caught by the Chinese resulting in horrific treatment which would last for over two painful years.
Tom comments: “It’s really emotional, going back. It’s a reunion with old mates, but there are so few of us left now. The Imjin and the cemetery are the main reasons I go back.”
He was discharged in 1977 but didn’t retire until he was 74. Tom later lost his sight due to age related macular degeneration. He began receiving help and support from our charity in 2012.
We wish you well on your journey Tom. bit.ly/1SGmHB2
“When we landed on Sword Beach we couldn’t make contact with the 41 Commando already there so we stayed in the hedges that first night.
“Once we joined them we went on patrol day and night. If we came across any Germans we would have to fight them until one of us died. I never came across them but you could hear them in the dark.”
In August 1944 Clive Woods was wounded by a German mortar shell. It hit his head, body, legs and feet with Clive losing his right eye also. To this day Clive still has shrapnel left in his head.
For his incredible bravery 91 year old Clive has just been awarded with France's highest honour.
Congrats Sir for your brave service.
This Father’s Day, Maundy Todd, is celebrating her Second World War veteran father, Jim Hooper, 94, who lost his sight to age-related macular degeneration in 2012, and has received support from us since 2013.
Jim joined the Territorial Army in 1939 before volunteering for the Glider Pilot regiment in the Army Air Corps in 1942. In 1944, Jim was involved in the Battle of Arnhem where he was taken prisoner by German troops, and was held as a POW for seven months. After being released, Jim re-joined his regiment before leaving service in 1946.
Maundy said “Blind Veterans UK has been amazing for my father, both in the support available and in the generosity and kindness of the people who work there. My father is the most resourceful, innovative person in dealing with whatever life throws at him, but losing his sight has been very tough. But the charity has given him a new lease of life. I’d encourage anyone who may be eligible for support from Blind Veterans UK to get in touch with them.”
To give your Dad the gift of lifelong support this Father’s Day, go to noonealone.org.uk