Ex-soldier to march at the Cenotaph with blind veterans

Frank Berry
Frank Berry

A registered blind ex-soldier from Long Buckby is to take part in the Remembrance Sunday march at the Cenotaph with Blind Veterans UK.

Frank Berry, 76, will be marching in London with more than 100 other representatives of Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision impaired ex-Service men and women.

Mr Berry, pictured, joined the Army Catering Corps in October 1957 and went on to serve for four years.

He has many memories of his service in Cyprus, where he was stationed at the Kyrenia Mountains, the border between the Turkish and Cypriot sides of the island.

He said: “I’ve never been back, there are too many sad memories. But there were good times when we had a break – swimming and playing football.

“We didn’t like the climate though – we lived in tents and found it too hot, so we were always praying for rain.

“In the catering corps we cooked everything for the regiment from cooked breakfast to baking bread from scratch, all following recipes from an army cookbook. Before National Service I was a butcher, but I had never cooked much. But by the time I got married I was a better cook than my wife.”

Mr Berry started to lose his sight in early 2005.

He added: “Despite having regular tests for glaucoma I ended up in hospital as my sight rapidly deteriorated. I had very high pressure in the eye and they told me if they didn’t do anything I would be blind within 24 hours. They finally did get the pressure down, but by 2006 I only had poor pinhole vision due to advanced glaucoma.”

A friend recommended Mr Berry get in touch with Blind Veterans UK and he has received free support to help him live independently with sight loss. He added: “Blind Veterans UK has made a huge difference to me. At the Blind Veterans UK centres I learnt about simple things I could do to make my daily life easier and simpler. I didn’t cook after I lost my sight, but now I’ve got techniques that help me in the kitchen.

“I don’t cook as much as I used to, but I make a particularly good Yorkshire Pudding! I also have a gadget to put on a mug which bleeps if it’s going to overflow with hot water.

“I think it’s important to remember those who have passed away. Remembrance Sunday should never die out. I’ve ordered the sun to shine on the day and if I wink at the Queen I might get a free meal!”