A former serviceman from Leamington will be visiting Buckingham Palace with more than 1,000 other veterans to mark the 100th anniversary of a charity which has helped them all.
Robert ‘Bob’ Beck, 76, will attend a special garden party to celebrate Blind Veteran UK’s 100th year.
Mr Beck served in the Royal Air Force from 1958 until 1961 as part of National Service.
He worked as a Radar Operator underground at RAF Boulmer and left the RAF as a Senior Aircraftsman.
He first noticed he was starting to lose his sight in 1990 and was later diagnosed with glaucoma.
He started receiving support from Blind Veterans UK in 2012.
It’s the camaraderie and knowing the charity will be there if you need anythingBob Beck
Mr Beck said: “I’ve had a lot of trouble with my eyes and have had lots of operations.
“It all worked well until a few years ago and they couldn’t do anything more for me.
“One day I was sitting on a bench outside a supermarket and a man sat next to me.
“We got talking and he mentioned Blind Veterans UK, suggesting I call them up and become part of the organisation.
“Within a fortnight I started receiving their support – it was a simple as that.”
Mr Beck has received specialist equipment and training by Blind Veterans UK, including a talking watch, talking scales, colour identifier and a speaking reader.
He said: “Blind Veterans UK has been wonderful. I’ve been on several photography weeks at the charity’s centres and the equipment they’ve supplied is invaluable.
“It is more than that though – it’s the camaraderie and knowing the charity will be there if you need anything.”
“It is absolutely brilliant to be able to celebrate Blind Veterans UK’s 100th birthday together with everyone linked to the charity in such a special way.”
Blind Veterans UK, formerly St Dunstan’s, was founded in 1915 and the charity’s initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in World War I.
he organisation has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning World War II to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.
For 100 years, the charity has been providing vital free training, rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to blind and vision impaired veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.
Maj-Gen (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB, the chief executive of Blind Veterans UK, said: “All of us at Blind Veterans UK feel both honoured and very proud to celebrate our centenary at such a special event. “It’ll be a fantastic day for our veterans.”