A BLIND Leamington veteran helped mark 100 years of a war-time charity at a special garden party in Buckingham Palace.
Robert ‘Bob’ Beck, 76, visited the palace along with more than 1,000 other veterans on Thursday (June 4) to celebrate the 100th year of Blind Veterans UK – a charity which supports visually-impaired ex-servicemen and women.
After spending time in the Royal Air Force from 1958 until 1961 as part of National Service, Bob went on to work as a radar operator underground at RAF Boulmer and left the RAF as a Senior Aircraftsman.
Speaking about the event, he said: “It was the first time I visited the palace and I was very impressed. I met up with quite a few friends and enjoyed celebrating Blind Veterans UK’s 100th birthday together.
“I’ve had a lot of trouble with my eyes and had lots of operations. It all worked well until a few years ago and doctors said they couldn’t do anything more for me.
“One day I was sitting on a bench outside a supermarket and a man sat next to me. We got talking and he mentioned Blind Veterans UK, suggesting I call them up and become part of the organisation.
“Within a fortnight I started receiving their support – it was a simple as that.”
He has since received specialist equipment and training by Blind Veterans UK, including a talking watch, talking scales, colour identifier and a speaking reader.
Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan’s) was founded in 1915 and the charity’s initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in the First World War.
The organisation has now gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families – spanning from those involved in the Second World War to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chief executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB, added: “All of us at Blind Veterans UK feel both honoured and very proud to celebrate our centenary at such a special event – it was a fantastic day for our veterans!”
Visit blindveterans.org.uk for further information.