Blind Fleetwood veteran to march in tribute to the fallen
A blind veteran from the Fylde coast is set to show his respect for the nation's fallen war heroes by marching to the Cenotaph in London this Remembrance Sunday.
Joined by a host of ex-servicemen and women, Graham Ward, 59, will be supported in his march by the charity Blind Veterans UK.
Graham, from Fleetwood, said: “Remembrance means everything to me. It puts into perspective my own service and brings it all back.
“To be able to march with men and women who have also served is fantastic.”
Graham served in the Royal Air Force from 1975 to 1976 as a steward, based at Wittering, Cottesmore and Brize Norton, before being discharged as a Leading Air Craftman on September 15, 1976.
In January 2005, he was diagnosed with glaucoma after losing sight in his left eye while in hospital recovering from a heart attack.
“I’ve now got no peripheral vision, it’s like looking through the eye of a needle,” he said.
“It was extremely hard to come to terms with.”
He came across Blind Veterans UK in 2013 while being taught by social services how to use a white stick and says the charity supported him during the first couple of years of his sight loss, helping pull him out of the depression that had set in.
Graham said: “I’ve had a better life since losing my sight than I had before. At the end of the day my sight loss is age-related but so many of the charity’s veterans have lost their sight while serving in horrendous incidents.
“For me, it helps put things into perspective.”
Chief executive of Blind Veterans UK, retired major general Nick Caplin said: “Remembrance Sunday is always a very poignant time for our blind veterans.”
Graham will march alongside more than 100 other blind veterans on Sunday.
He will be joined during the march this weekend by his partner Lindy, a fellow blind veteran who he met through the charity.
He said they are both ‘extremely excited’ to take part in the event.
Specsavers will be raising money from November 6 to 12 to support Bind Veterans UK, who will be aiding the ex Servicemen and women in their commemorative march on Sunday November 12.
For more information on Blind Veterans UK, call 0800 389 7979, or visit www.blindveterans.org.uk