A Royal Navy veteran, who served throughout the Second World War, is to front this year’s Christmas appeal for Blind Veterans UK to encourage other veterans with severe sight loss to seek support.
Cedric Hollands, a 91-year-old from Ashford, Kent, lost his sight in 2005 to age-related macular degeneration. In 2008, he started to receive support from Blind Veterans UK and since then he been able to recover his independence.
The ads will appear in Saga and Good Housekeeping magazines during December, supported by social media activity to raise awareness of the charity’s free, lifelong services and support for vision impaired ex-Service men and women.
Hollands said: “I really hope the Blind Veterans UK adverts will encourage veterans and their families or carers to get in touch with Blind Veterans UK for support. The charity has made a big difference to my life over the last few years, so I’d urge other veterans to get in touch too. Their support is the best present anyone could wish for this Christmas!”
He joined the Royal Navy aged just 15 in 1939, at the start of the Second World War. Serving throughout the war and into the Fifties, Hallands’ service saw him play a part in crucial battles, including the D-Day landings, the Battle of Matapan where five Italian ships were sunk and the Battle of Crete which left his ship – the HMS Warspite – with a big hole in its side. He was also involved in the fighting with Japan at the end of the war in the Pacific.
Many years after his Navy career had ended, Hollands was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration at the age of 81. Over time the condition has slowly robbed him of his sight, meaning he can now see very little.
Fortunately he found out he could be eligible for support from the charity after a chance encounter on an overseas cruise, when his failing eyesight led to him mistaking one of the charity’s beneficiaries for his wife.
Hollands added: “Once I heard about what Blind Veterans UK could do for someone like me I knew I really ought to get in touch with them. Blind Veterans UK has had a really positive impact on my life. By providing me with a magnifier, they have enabled me to just about see photographs of my grandchildren and great grandchildren. It has definitely made me much happier.
“Meeting other veterans also helps to keep me positive. The charity has provided me with social opportunities which is fantastic. Speaking to other veterans with severe sight loss is both reassuring and enjoyable.”
Blind Veterans UK provides vital services and support to ex-Service men and women now battling severe sight loss. The charity’s No One Alone campaign is reaching out to the tens of thousands of vision impaired ex-Service men and women who are now battling severe sight loss, who could be eligible for support but do not currently realise it.
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