Ray Munday (front row, third from right) with veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK and David Bailey (front centre). Image credit: Mark Pile
A blind veteran from Rochester, Kent, has fulfilled a lifelong dream of meeting photographer David Bailey at the Brighton rehabilitation and training centre of military charity Blind Veterans UK.
Ray Munday, 88, attended the event held last month as part of a photography-themed activity week run by the charity, which supports vision-impaired ex-Service men and women. Ray was one of 14 blind veterans to attend the week.
Ray says: “When I was told about the visit my jaw dropped – I was so excited, because I’ve followed Bailey since he shot to fame in the 60s. You could say I’m a groupie, because I love his photography! He’s a great bloke.”
During his visit David Bailey was given a guided tour of the centre and delivered a talk to veterans supported by the charity. He spoke about his experience in Singapore where he served with the Royal Air Force, as well as giving an insight into his career spent photographing some of the most recognised faces of the twentieth century.
David Bailey says: “I thoroughly enjoyed answering questions from vision-impaired ex-Service men and women like Ray who are supported by Blind Veterans UK. As a National Service veteran myself, it was encouraging to hear about the support available if I were to lose my sight, and I was very impressed by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of blind photographers who have not let vision loss stop them from getting behind the camera.”
After the talk the veterans were able to pose their own questions to David Bailey and some shared their own memories from their time in Service.
Ray, who completed his National Service with the Royal Air Force in 1948-50, has been supported by Blind Veterans UK since 2007. Ray has age-related macular degeneration, a sight condition which has gradually caused him to lose his vision.
Ray says: “I’ve been taking photographs since I was 17, but in 2006 the sight in my right eye finally went and I had to give up photography and driving. It was a very difficult time.
“Blind Veterans UK has supported me ever since. They’re absolutely wonderful, they really are – they can’t do enough for you in terms of training, support and equipment. The things that they do for people are unbelievable.”
Ray’s wife encouraged him to start taking photographs again after buying him a digital camera in 2008. When staff members at Blind Veterans UK found out about Ray’s interest in photography, they encouraged him to get involved in the charity’s photography club.
Photography week is a dedicated activity week which takes place every year and is part of a larger programme which encourages blind veterans supported by the charity to explore their creativity whilst overcoming the challenges of a vision impairment.
Louise Partridge, Art and Craft Rehabilitation Lead at Blind Veterans UK says:
“Photography week is a chance for our blind veterans to rediscover their passion for photography and learn how to take photographs with their vision impairment. It’s all about showing veterans that with a few adaptions, a hobby like photography is still very much possible. The talk by David Bailey, was a real highlight of the week.”
Note on image above: Ray Munday (front row, third from right) with veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK and David Bailey (front centre). Image credit: Mark Pile
For all media enquiries please contact: Ailie MacDonald Wilson, Regional Marcomms Executive, South East, Blind Veterans UK, 12 – 14 Harcourt Street, London W1H 4HD, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, M: 07599 535484, T: 01444 470016
Notes to Editor
Blind Veterans UK
Blind Veterans UK is a national charity that believes that no-one who has served our country should have to battle blindness alone. Founded in 1915, the charity provides blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women with lifelong support including welfare support, rehabilitation, training, residential and respite care.