A Hartlepool man was due to attend a special celebration at Buckingham Palace today marking the centenary of Blind Veterans UK.
Norman Wintrip, 84, will be attending a garden party at the palace with other veterans helped by Blind Veterans UK at an event to mark the military charity’s 100 years of proud service and support to blind and vision-impaired ex-service men and women.
Norman joined the Royal Navy in 1948 and served for 12 years. He specialised in aircraft handling and served aboard HMS Perseus, the first aircraft carrier to test new technology.
Norman will be attending the palace party with his partner Margaret.
He has received help and support from Blind Veterans UK since 2012 after he lost his sight due to age-related macular degeneration, as well as glaucoma and cataracts in his right eye.
Blind Veterans UK has helped Norman with a range of aids, such as a CCTV reader, and an electronic reading device. He has received training to help him continue to live independently, such as cooking and using knives with sight loss.
Norman said: “They’ve always suggested different courses I might take, and I’d be lost without the CCTV now.”
Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan’s) was founded in 1915 to support soldiers blinded in the First World War. The charity has now supported 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning the Second World War to recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chief executive of Blind Veterans UK, Nick Caplin said: “This anniversary also provides the opportunity for us to look forward to the challenges that lie ahead for Blind Veterans UK.
“ It is a critical time for our charity as the number of blind veterans we support is increasing; in the past year, more blind veterans have registered for our help than ever before.”
Norman said: “I think the party is a great way to raise awareness of the brilliant work done by Blind Veterans UK.”