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‘Blind Veterans UK has been wonderful’: Sunderland blind veteran reflects on support over the past year

BVUK3Sunderland blind veteran, Dennis Taylor, praises the support he has received from Blind Veterans UK, one year on from when he first became a beneficiary in January 2016.

Dennis, 91, lives in Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, but was born in Croydon.  He joined the Royal Navy in 1942 and after training at HMS Collingwood he served in Motor Torpedo Boats in the Indian Ocean, patrolling the coast from Mombasa to Dar es Salaam.

Dennis was discharged as a Leading Telegrapher in 1946.  Dennis said, “I enjoyed my time in the Navy.  At 17, 18, 19, everything is an adventure!”

Dennis first started experiencing problems with his sight in the 1980s.  He woke up one night in pain feeling like he had a black eye.  His left eye was extremely bloodshot over the next couple of days.  Sadly when he went to the opticians they told him the retina had become detached and there was nothing that could be done to save his sight.

Dennis coped with having vision in one eye for many years. He didn’t let it stop him doing what he loved and in that time he attained two music degrees and wrote three books.  He also published compositions for brass bands.

Unfortunately his eyesight in his right eye gradually deteriorated and twelve years ago he was diagnosed with macular degeneration, and was forced to stop driving.

Dennis heard about Blind Veterans UK from staff at the Sunderland Eye Infirmary, who encouraged him to get in touch.  He became a beneficiary of the charity in January 2016.

Since then, Dennis has been on an induction week at a Blind Veterans UK training and rehabilitation centre and returned to the centre for a computer course.  He has received various equipment to help him in the home, including a talking watch, a computer, audio books and equipment to help in the kitchen.

Dennis said, “Blind Veterans UK has been wonderful.  The staff at the centre were ever so kind, they couldn’t do enough for me.  They’ve been extremely helpful”.

Blind Veterans UK provides vital services and support to ex-Service men and women battling severe sight loss and their families. The charity estimates that there are currently 59,000 blind veterans that would be eligible to access its specialist support, most of whom are not currently aware of it.

The charity is prepared for a spike in applications for its support following the holiday period, when many people have visited their relatives over the Christmas period and have noticed they are struggling with sight loss.

If you, or someone you know served in the Armed Forces or did National Service and is now battling severe sight loss, find out how Blind Veterans UK could help by calling 0800 389 7979 or visiting www.noonealone.org.uk

For all media enquiries please contact: Jack French, Blind Veterans UK, 12 – 14 Harcourt Street, London, W1H 4HD, E: jack.french@blindveterans.org.uk, T: 020 7616 7999

Notes to Editor

Blind Veterans UK

Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan’s) is a national charity that believes that no-one who has served our country should have to battle blindness alone. It provides vital services and support to ex-Service men and women battling severe sight loss and their families. The charity estimates that there are currently 59,000 blind veterans that would be eligible to access its specialist support, most of whom are not currently aware of it.

If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces or did National Service and are now battling severe sight loss, find out how Blind Veterans UK could help by calling 0800 389 7979 or visiting www.noonealone.org.uk.

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