John Brice, a local blind veteran, marched at the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Sunday with the help of military charity Blind Veterans UK and Burnham-On-Sea’s Specsavers.
The 71-year-old joined more than 100 other blind veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-service men and women.
From November 6th–12th the Burnham-On-Sea store raised awareness of the charity and collected funds in aid of the trip.
Specsavers Burnham-On-Sea store director Rama Venkat explains: “We are all immensely thankful to our military service personnel. We are proud to lend our support to ensure that John is able to reach London and pay his respects to his fallen comrades by marching to the Cenotaph this Remembrance Sunday.”
John Brice said: “I’d like to thank you Blind Veterans and Specsavers in Burham-on-Sea. Without their support I would not be able to take part in the Remembrance Day march to the Cenotaph in London.”
John lost his sight gradually, due to age-related macular degeneration. It was an experience he found unsettling, having always prided himself on his independence.
John says: “It was terrifying when I was told I would lose my sight, because I didn’t know how I would work or get about without being able to drive. It was a very difficult time.”
John discovered Blind Veterans UK while volunteering for Vision North Somerset. He started receiving support from the military charity in 2014 and took part in an introduction week at one of the charity’s rehabilitation centres to help him adjust to his sight loss.
John says: “Being with Blind Veterans UK is like being back in the forces – that sense of camaraderie is always there and because we are all in the same boat I don’t have the excuse of saying I can’t do things because of my sight loss.’
Specsavers has supported Blind Veterans UK since 2012 and staff have referred a number of customers to the charity so they can access their support services, in addition to raising funds in store.
If you, or someone you know served in the Armed Forces or did National Service and are now battling severe sight loss, find out how Blind Veterans UK could help by calling 0800 389 7979 or visiting blindveterans.org.uk
To donate to the Blind Veterans Cenotaph fund, please visit Specsavers Burnham-on-Sea, 3 High Street, TA8 1NX.