A former RAF veteran from Lincolnshire will march with other blind veterans to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday for Blind Veterans UK.
David Hazelgrove, 61, will join more than 100 other representatives of Blind Veterans UK, which this year celebrates its 100 years of service to vision impaired ex-Service men and women.
David comes from an Armed Forces family and his father served in the Royal Air Force. When David was younger he lived all over the world and when he was 17 years old he joined the RAF himself. He worked in Air Defence and he served in Hong Kong. David left the RAF in 1984 after 13 years of Service as a Senior Aircraftsman.
Due to his work in the RAF, David got into computers and, after he left the Armed Forces, worked on the AEW Nimrod and the Foxhunter radar (as fitted to the Tornado F3).
David started losing his sight in 2009 after he was diagnosed with diabetes. He was registered blind in 2010.
Losing my sight stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn’t do much of the things I used to do, such as driving.
David learned about Blind Veterans UK in a newsletter distributed by his local blind society and he started receiving help and support from Blind Veterans UK in 2013.
David has been for training at one of the charity’s training centres in Sheffield and he has received specialist equipment from the charity, including a knife proof cooking glove and a magnifier, to allow him to continue to live as independently as possible.
Blind Veterans UK has given me a new lease of life. It’s because of the charity that I’m now involved in my local community partnership, and have in fact become their Treasurer.
David is also part of the charity’s Get Out And Live (GOAL) group which was set up for veterans who want to engage in new experiences and go out on activities.
David will be marching for the second time to the Cenotaph and will march together with more than 100 other blind veterans on Remembrance Sunday for Blind Veterans UK.
Remembrance means a great deal to me due to my family and my own time in the Armed Forces. I think about the people who would have been marching with me but can’t.
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 World War I. But the organisation has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning World War II to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.
For 100 years, the charity has been providing vital free training, rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to blind and vision impaired veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.
Visit www.blindveterans.org.uk to learn more about the charity’s 100 year history and how you can support its vital work today.