Cwmbran day highlights plight of blind veterans

South Wales Argus: SUPPORT: Blind Veterans UK is the national charity for blind ex-service men and women that provides free, comprehensive and lifelong support to blind veterans.  (7066021) SUPPORT: Blind Veterans UK is the national charity for blind ex-service men and women that provides free, comprehensive and lifelong support to blind veterans. (7066021)

CWMBRAN shopping centre is to host a day of activities to raise awareness for a national charity that helps blind servicemen and women.

Tomorrow, from 10am-4pm, a number of events will take place at Cwmbran Shopping to support Blind Veterans UK.

Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 to offer support to visually impaired ex-servicemen and women, and it estimates that there could be more than 68,000 blind veterans in the UK who are eligible for support from the charity.

Charlie Parkinson, 37, who lives in Cwmbran, served in the 1st Battalion of the King’s Regiment and the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1995 and 2002.

He suffers from glaucoma, a condition that has slowly deprived him of his sight, to the point where he now has only two per cent vision.

Since joining Blind Veterans UK in 2012, Charlie has received free support to help him live independently with sight loss.

Mr Parkinson said: “Blind Veterans UK has helped me with everything from IT training to supplying gadgets that help me in everyday activities such as running, which I really enjoy.

“I have even managed to run the London Marathon despite being visually impaired.”

Centre manager, Paul Rich, an ex-soldier who served in the Coldstream Guards from 1988 to 1994, said: “Blind Veterans UK is an outstanding charity that I am particularly passionate about and it is very important to share the work the charity carries out with the local community.

“It is such a worthwhile cause, and it has been a privilege to work with the charity.”

The day will include a variety of events, including a gardening workshop to educate children on how visual impairment has an impact on other senses, such as touch, hearing and smell.

It coincides with Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace, the annual military parade on the Queen’s birthday, and ten shoppers will receive free bouquets of flowers from the centre, presented by a visiting member of the Queen’s Guards.

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