Blind Navy veteran looks forward to spending Christmas with national military charity
In the run-up to Christmas, a vision impaired Royal Navy veteran from Kent has spoken of the “marvellous” support he has received from a national military charity in helping him to live independently with sight loss.
Ron Bullock, 91 and from Orpington, is looking forward to celebrating Christmas with a number of other blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women at Blind Veterans UK’s Brighton centre this year.
Ron volunteered for the Navy in 1941 and spent over four years as an electrician in the Fleet Air Arm. During his service, Ron worked on aircraft carriers sailing across the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean, and was responsible for keeping the planes flying.
Ron says: “I thoroughly enjoyed being in the Navy, I got to see the world and they taught me so many valuable things – but that’s not to say I didn’t have some close calls.
“I remember one night, I was asleep in the mess as we were sailing home to go on leave, and the next thing I knew, I was up to my neck in water. We’d been torpedoed, in the Irish Sea of all places! 15 of the men died, only three of us survived - someone was definitely watching over us that night.”
Many years after leaving the Navy, Ron began to notice that his eyesight was starting to fail. Ron says: “I was having a terrible business trying to see properly, so I went to my doctor and was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration, that was about 20 years ago now.
“I’ve always been quite positive and I think, by being in the Navy, I’ve been able to make the most of things despite my sight loss, but the support of Blind Veterans UK is just wonderful and I don’t know what I’d do without it now.”
Ron has been receiving free services and support from national charity Blind Veterans UK since 2008.
He says: “The support and equipment Blind Veterans UK has given me has been just marvellous. I wouldn’t be without the magnifier they gave me, as it helps me to read and I can keep on doing my crosswords!”
Since getting involved with Blind Veterans UK, Ron has regularly visited the charity’s centres to receive further support, and he is currently looking forward to going to the Brighton centre to celebrate Christmas.
Ron says: “I have a lot of things to be grateful for and Blind Veterans UK is one of them. I wouldn’t like to miss a Christmas at the centre now. There’s just so much entertainment, and the staff would do anything to help you. I love it there, there’s always something going on and you’re never at a loose end.”
The charity provides free, lifelong support to veterans with vision impairment, regardless of the cause of sight loss or the length of time in service. Blind Veterans UK offers rehabilitation, training, equipment as well as emotional support at each of the charity’s service centres in Brighton, Sheffield and Llandudno, North Wales and through its network of welfare support officers across the UK.
It is estimated that there are over 68,000 blind and vision impaired veterans in the UK who could be eligible for the charity’s free, lifelong support but who are not currently aware of it. If you are, or know of, a veteran with severe vision impairment, like Ron, and would like more information about Blind Veterans UK, visit www.noonealone.org.uk or call freephone 0800 389 7979.