A BLIND veteran from Coventry will celebrate Blind Veterans UK’s 100 year anniversary at a special service to be held at Westminster Abbey this month.
Eric Sayce, 80, will be joining 1,800 other veterans, staff and supporters of Blind Veterans UK to mark the 100 years of proud service.
Having joined the Royal Air Force in 1956, Eric worked his way up the ranks to become senior aircraftsman.
After Eric left the Armed Forces, he worked different jobs including sales and marketing for an export company until in he lost his sight completely due to detached retinas – he was forced to retire at the age of 50.
Eric said: “I had several operations on my eyes to try and regain my eyesight but unfortunately it didn’t work.
“I didn’t think I would be eligible for Blind Veterans UK’s support as they supported war blinded veterans but they had recently changed their criteria.
“I was overwhelmed with the help and support they provided that wasn’t available elsewhere.”
Eric received equipment and training from Blind Veterans UK to support him to live independently with his sight loss, including cooking, white cane and IT training.
Eric added: “Blind Veterans UK supported me to do things I wanted to do but couldn’t do before.
“I wanted to give back to the charity for all their past and current support so I became a Blind Veterans UK speaker and today I go into schools to raise awareness of my world without vision.”
Now, Eric will celebrate Blind Veterans UK’s 100 year anniversary by attending a special Service of thanksgiving – to be conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, and will be sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey.
There will also be a performance from Welsh classical Soprano Gwawr Edwards and readings from Blind Veterans UK supporters Barbara Windsor and David Dimbleby.
David Dimbleby said: “I am honoured to be playing a part in this centenary celebration of Blind Veterans UK – it is a marvellous charity with a rich history.
“I have always been impressed by the way ex-Service men and women who have lost their sight find a new life, a new way of working and a new comradeship with the help of Blind Veterans UK.”
To learn more about the charity’s 100 year history, visit www.blindveterans.org.uk