A blind veteran from Ellesmere Port is set to march at the Cenotaph in London this Remembrance Sunday with the charity Blind Veterans UK.
Peter Olney, aged 83, is being supported to do this by a number of local Specsavers stores.
The stores will be raising money from November 6-12 to help send blind veterans, including Peter, to march.
Peter will be marching at the Cenotaph in London with more than 100 other blind veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-servicemen and women.
He says: “It is always a real pleasure to be invited to represent Blind Veterans UK at the Cenotaph, and I feel this may be my last year, which makes it even more special.
“I will be attending with my wife and do intend on actually marching, even though I’m not as nimble as I used to be!”
Peter joined the Royal Air Force as part of his National Service in 1952.
He completed training in Padgate, then moved to Walmslow and Bomber Command at Bassingbourne.
He left the RAF as an aircraftsman.
He says: “I loved my time in the RAF, the camaraderie was brilliant.
“I didn’t do anything spectacular or important but I was serving my country and life in the military set me up well. I still meticulously tidy and like everything in its place, which has helped now that I’ve lost my sight!”
Peter started to lose his sight over ten years ago. He had already developed glaucoma but went on to suffer from age-related macular degeneration as well. He says: “It was difficult when I found out my sight would be severely affected by these conditions, but I count myself lucky to still have some sight.”
He started to receive support from Blind Veterans UK in 2010 after being referred to the charity by his local hospital.
Peter says: “Blind Veterans UK has given me back the independence in my day-to-day life that I lost when my sight went.
“I can now do the small things again that make me feel completely normal – like making a cup of tea and being able to tell the colour of clothes so that I can dress myself.”
Peter has enjoyed visiting the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Llandudno and has also been provided with equipment to allow him to continue to live independently at home.
He says: “The equipment is great. I have a talking watch, a magnifier and a liquid level indicator to allow me to make a cup of tea. There’s also a great device which tells me the colour of all my clothes.
“In general, daily life has become so much simpler and more enjoyable. I don’t have to rely on my wife so much and keeping that independence makes a huge difference.”
Peter is set to march with other vision-impaired ex-service men and women supported by Blind Veterans UK as part of the national Remembrance Sunday commemorations in London on Sunday (November 12).
Specsavers has supported Blind Veterans UK since 2012 and, as well as raising money for the charity, have referred a number of customers to them so they can access its support.
You can support their activity online at blindveterans.org.uk/helppeter.
Chief executive of Blind Veterans UK Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB says: “Remembrance Sunday is always a very poignant time for our blind veterans and it is fantastic that Specsavers are able to support them to get to march at the Cenotaph.
“Today, Blind Veterans UK supports more blind and vision-impaired veterans than ever before in the charity’s history and we have set an ambitious target to double the number of veterans we support in the next five years.”