A vision impaired ex-Royal Navy veteran will be remembering his uncle and grandfather when he takes part in a Remembrance Sunday march with a national charity for vision impaired ex-Service men and women
67-year-old John Wheeler, from Doncaster, will be one of over 100 vision impaired veterans taking part in the annual Remembrance Sunday commemorations at the Cenotaph in London on Sunday November 9 with Blind Veterans UK.
John joined the Royal Navy in October 1962. He trained at HMS Ganges as a Communications Rating and then went on to serve with HMS Mercury, HMS Adamant and HMS Zulu, where he began to notice his eye sight deteriorating.
After three months of tests and seeing numerous eye specialists, John finally got a diagnosis of a hereditary condition called Leber’s Optic Atrophy.
John did not realise he qualified to receive support from Blind Veterans UK until his wife, who is also vision impaired, was told by someone at the local blind support centre that they could help.
The charity has provided John with free support and training since 2006 to help him and his family adjust to life with sight loss.
John said: “Blind Veterans UK has helped me immensely by giving me computer training and a screen reader and corrector scanner on permanent loan which helps me read articles.
“It’s a great honour to be asked to take part in the Remembrance Sunday march for Blind Veterans UK.
“I will be remembering my uncle and grandfather as they served in the Royal Navy too, so there is a strong family connection there for me. It’s wonderful to be connected with Blind Veterans UK on such a memorable day.”
Blind Veterans UK’s No One Alone campaign aims to reach out to more veterans like John.
More than 68,000 people could be eligible for free help and support without realising it.
If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces or National Service who now suffers with sight loss, visit www.noonealone.org.uk or call 0800 389 7979. For more information about Blind Veterans UK’s work, please visit www.blindveterans.org.uk.