The Manager of Blind Veterans UK’s Centre of Wellbeing in Ovingdean has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Honours list.
Lesley Garven MBE, who has been Manager of the Blind Veterans UK Centre since 2012, received the honour for ‘Services to Veterans’. The award was given particularly for her work leading the centre, which has 30 permanent residents, throughout the pandemic.
Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB said: “Lesley’s award is wholly deserved and all of us at Blind Veterans UK are delighted for her.
“As Covid-19 struck, she focused on creating a safe environment for our elderly vision-impaired residents.
“She used social media to secure PPE support when supplies were stretched and set up Covid-19 testing arrangements for her staff and residents with a leading university, to provide assurance before the national testing systems were established.
“Lesley continues to lead on the planning around our move to our new Sussex home in Rustington and always puts the needs of blind veterans first.”
On hearing of her award, Lesley said:
“I am absolutely overwhelmed and want to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at our Centre who have worked so tirelessly, particularly throughout the pandemic.
“We will soon be moving to our new home in Rustington, but I know that all of our staff will be just as committed to providing the very best care and support to blind veterans.”
Blind veteran Tony Harbour, 86 and from Saltdean, supported Lesley’s nomination and said:
“Lesley is a constant source of sunshine and inspiration to all us blind veterans. She lifts our spirits, makes us laugh and gives us hope.
“Although my vision is seriously impaired I can easily see the impact she has on the staff and the ease with which they follow her clear and natural lead. Through her personal example and devotion, she leads a very happy team of staff and volunteers who help us to enjoy like beyond sight loss.”
Blind Veterans UK supports thousands of blind veterans across the country, but knows there are up to tens of thousands more who still need its support to rebuild their lives after sight loss.
If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, and are now struggling with sight loss, then please get in touch. Call 0800 389 7979 or visit blindveterans.org.uk/support