91-year-old Joyce Henley-Hudson from Shanklin has thanked the national sight loss charity Blind Veterans UK for the free support and services she has received, and is encouraging other blind or vision-impaired veterans to get in touch.
Joyce was born in Hastings but grew up in Eastbourne. She joined the WRNS after leaving school in 1944. Joyce was initially posted to Scotland where she was given the job of scrubbing stone stairs but was then posted to Washington DC where she spent the remainder of her time in Service.
“I look back fondly on my time in Service, especially in Washington, I have so many good memories. I remember the beautiful colours on the trees in autumn and snowballing in winter. It was a very interesting time”.
Years later, Joyce was diagnosed with macular degeneration and is now registered as severely sight impaired. Fortunately, her son saw an advert for Blind Veterans UK offering its free services and support to veterans like Joyce, and he encouraged her to get in touch with the charity. Joyce called Blind Veterans UK and was accepted as a new beneficiary in April 2016.
Since then she has attended an induction week at Blind Veterans UK’s Brighton centre. Joyce said:
“I spent a marvellous week at the Brighton centre where I met a Rehabilitation Officer for the Visually Impaired (ROVI) who showed me some very interesting equipment, it was fascinating. I have now been given a great deal of equipment to use at home. The reading machine is particularly useful to help me read my post.
“My friend and I really enjoyed spending a week at the centre, the staff cooked dinner for us and we were very well looked after.
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“I’m so glad I found out about the charity, it’s really made a difference to my day-to-day life and means I can do so much more around the house”.
Blind Veterans UK provides vital services and support to ex-Service men and women now battling severe sight loss and their families. The charity estimates that there are currently 59,000 blind veterans that would be eligible to access its specialist support, most of whom are not currently aware of it.
Blind Veterans UK and Age UK have worked in partnership since November 2015 to raise awareness of each other’s services and provide support to respective beneficiaries. Working closely together with other charities ensures that Blind Veterans UK can reach out to more veterans such as Joyce and help them discover a life beyond sight loss.
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 www.noonealone.org.uk.