Caerphilly blind veteran praises support offered by Blind Veterans UK and urges others to get in contact with the charity  

A blind veteran from Caerphilly has urged eligible veterans to contact Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-service men and women, and to grab their help with both hands.

70 year old Noeline Charlesworth is starring in the charity’s campaign to recruit more beneficiaries.

Noeline served for two years with the Women’s Royal Army Corps and was a laboratory technician in the Medical Corps. She was based in Guildford, Aldershot and in Germany.

It was in 2008 that Noeline first noticed something was wrong with her eyesight.

Noeline said:

“At first I only noticed my eyesight was failing at night. I blamed the lightbulbs in the house but when spring came, and the evenings began to get lighter, I realised I could no longer blame the lightbulbs or the dark. 

“I was referred to the hospital and it was confirmed that I had wet and dry macular degeneration and there was nothing that could be done to save my central vision. I was in denial at first but then the reality hit me and the only way I can describe it is that the power of darkness came in like a flood. 

“Blindness took away my independence. I had to learn to ask for help and that wasn’t in my nature. I was the person that helped others and now I needed help. Only once I accepted that, was I was able to move forwards. 

“I’m a positive person and I told myself – Noeline, you can’t be cured but you need to pull your socks up and count your blessings for what you can still do.” 

Noeline joined Blind Veterans UK at the start of 2020 and by July had already become involved in a number of online chat groups that had been set up during the Covid pandemic.

She said:

“Blind Veterans UK is like one big special family. The staff stimulate our minds and encourage us, they really are the best organisation for supporting people. 

“Before joining Blind Veterans UK I hadn’t knitted for years due to my sight loss. I joined the knitting chat group and a lady there, who has no sight at all, told me how she still knits, and I was encouraged to give it a go. I started off by knitting a simple square and there were no holes in it.  

“I was given the pattern for knitting poppies but eventually couldn’t knit anymore as I ran out of red wool and Caerphilly had gone back into lockdown meaning we could only get essentials. Within 48 hours of mentioning it on the knitting group I had been sent more wool from Blind Veterans UK and I burst into tears.  

“I thought, I have never met these people and they are sending me gifts and the gifts are so wonderful. 

“I have been provided with talking scales so that I am able to keep cooking, a magnifier on a clamp so I’m able to carry on with my card making hobby and I am now in the 21st Century and have a mobile phone I can use.  

“When you are visually impaired and trying desperately to keep hold of your hobbies these small things are such a lovely help. 

“I’ve also been on two trips to the charity’s Llandudno Centre for holidays and I had an absolutely wonderful time there. 

“The team at Blind Veterans UK bend over backwards and go through hula hoops to help us. 

“I am planning to give something back to the charity by completing a mini triathlon around Barry Island. I want to fundraise by walking around the island, riding a tandem and a swim in the sea. 

“If you think you may be able to get support from this wonderful charity, get in touch with them today. They give you so much support both physically and emotionally, it is life-changing. Go out there and grab Blind Veterans UK by the hand and don’t let them go.” 

While Blind Veterans UK initially cared for veterans blinded in active Service, today they help veterans no matter what caused their sight loss.

Blind Veterans UK supports thousands of blind veterans across the country, but knows there are tens of thousands more who still need its support to rebuild their lives after sight loss. Their campaign, proudly supported by Specsavers, is to find and recruit these men and women.

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

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By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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