Ex-Hartlepool reverend celebrates Blind Veterans Uk charity with special service at Westminster Abbey

David Youngson
David Youngson

A blind veteran who has received vital support from Blind Veterans UK will be celebrating the centenary of the charity at a special Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey.

The Reverend David Youngson, 77, will be attending the service with 1,800 other veterans, staff and supporters of Blind Veterans UK to mark the military charity’s 100 years of service and support to blind and vision-impaired ex-service men and women.

David went to sea in the Merchant Navy at 15 and then signed up for his National Service with the Royal Air Force in 1956. He worked as a medical orderly based at RAF Sutton-on-Hull and was discharged as a corporal.

In 1972, David was ordained into the priesthood after studying at Cuddesdon College in Oxford. He went on to work in several parishes across the North East of England, his last post being Vicar of St James Church in Owton Manor, Hartlepool.

David has received help and support from Blind Veterans UK since 2000 as he suffers from retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

David, from Billingham, said: “By 1992 I knew my RP was getting worse so I had to stop driving and that was when I was registered blind.

“I wanted to do something to help others with vision impairment so I set up Signpost North East,which helped others going through sight loss by providing an advice service in Departments of Ophthalmology clinics across the region.

“It was through working with Signpost North East that I learned more about Blind Veterans UK or St Dunstan’s as it was known then, I was referring others to the charity too.”

Blind Veterans UK has helped David with training and equipment including providing him with software to allow him to continue to use his computer.

David and his wife Eileen are looking forward to joining other veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK at the service at Westminster Abbey on October 6 conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall.