Blind army veteran thanks military charity for their support in Lowestoft
- Credit: Nick Butcher
An army veteran who served as a despatch rider in the Second World War has thanked a military charity for its help after he lost his sight and struggled to adapt.
Len Bird, 91, of Oulton, started receiving support from Blind Veterans UK at about this time last year.
He first began to notice problems with his sight in his 50s, when he was diagnosed with glaucoma.
But it wasn't until 2013, following the death of his wife, that his sight loss dramatically worsened.
Mr Bird heard about Blind Veterans UK via a local radio station.
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'In just one year, I've gone from not doing much at all, to having made new friends and having the confidence to live independently,' Mr Bird said.
'One of the first things that happened after I got in touch with Blind Veterans UK was my welfare officer Jennie came to visit me.
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'She gave me a lot of advice which helped make things easier for me at home.
'Then I went to the charity's Brighton centre, which I very much enjoyed.
'I did archery, air-rifle shooting, bowls and I learnt more practical skills – including cooking – which has helped me live with my sight loss.'
The charity has also provided Mr Bird with a lot of equipment including a colour recogniser to help with choosing his clothes, a talking clock, magnifying glasses and a CCTV and talking machine, which helps him to read independently.
'I've discovered I can do so much despite my sight loss, and I am now nearly as active as I was when I had my sight,' Mr Bird added.
'Just because I am blind, doesn't mean there aren't lots of things I can achieve.'
Mr Bird joined the Army in 1943 and served as a despatch rider in the Royal Signals.
He spent time, during the war, in both France and Germany, finding himself in Hamburg as the war ended.
After leaving Germany, he was then posted to Egypt which he says was a welcome change as he got to swim in the Suez Canal when he was off-duty.
Following his five years in the Army, Mr Bird went onto work in the construction industry.
? For more information call 0800 389 7979 or visit www.noonealone.org.uk
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