Blind ex-serviceman says thanks to charity and urges others to seek help

Les Darby.
Les Darby.

A blind national service veteran from Daventry has thanked a national charity for helping to change his life.

Les Darby, 78, said Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision impaired ex-Service men and women, has enhanced his life since he began receiving the charity’s emotional and practical support.

He was called up to join the RAF for National Service in 1954 and served for three years – one year more than was required under the National Service Act.

More than 50 years after leaving the RAF, Les started to notice that he was having problems with his sight.

He was diagnosed with glaucoma, a condition which has slowly robbed him of his sight. Les is now completely blind in his right eye and has only five per cent vision in his left. He said: “Losing my sight was incredibly difficult in the early days – blindness changes your whole life. Thankfully, I was eligible for help from Blind Veterans UK and they have given me very good support to make the most of my remaining sight.”

Through Blind Veterans UK, Les has received specialist equipment to help him around the home and he has been able to build friendships and learn from other vision impaired veterans at the charity’s service centre in Brighton.

He added: “Blind Veterans UK has enhanced my life and shown me that I don’t have to manage my sight loss on my own – there is support out there for veterans with sight problems.”

“The best part of it has been meeting other blind veterans – you think you’re the only person in the world with a problem, but meeting others who are going through the same thing as you is a huge help.

“I’d call on anyone who has been in the Services and is struggling with their sight to contact Blind Veterans UK to find out if you’re eligible for their free services and support.”

The charity’s No One Alone campaign estimates there are more than 68,000 ex-servicemen and women with sight loss entitled to help but don’t realise. If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, battling severe sight loss call 0800 389 7979 or go to 
www.noonealone.org.uk.