A blind WWII veteran from Birmingham will celebrate Blind Veterans UK’s 100 year anniversary at a special garden party at Buckingham Palace this June.
Grenville Davies, 95 and from Northfield, will be visiting the palace with more than 1,000 other veterans helped by Blind Veterans UK, to mark the military charity’s 100 years of proud service and support to blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
He joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in 1939 and went to France with the British Expeditionary Force. He was taken prisoner in 1940 and spent the remainder of the war in PoW camps and was discharged in 1946.
Grenville lost his sight later in life due to age related macular degeneration (ARMD). He started receiving support from Blind Veterans UK in 2012 after being told about them by another veteran the charity supports.
He says: “My sight has been getting worse and worse over the last ten years. It’s been very difficult getting by with just my peripheral vision.”
Since he began to receive help and support from Blind Veterans UK, Grenville has received training and specialist equipment to help him continue to live as independently as possible with sight loss.
Grenville says: “I was amazed when I went to the Blind Veterans UK centre in Llandudno for the first time. I went for a training week and the staff there helped me so much. I’ve been back five times since then, mainly because it’s such fun.
“They have given me equipment which I use every day like a device which reads back text to me or talking can lids so I know what’s in my tins!”
Grenville and his daughter Lynne will be joining other veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK at the special garden party at Buckingham Palace in June.
He added: “I went to Buckingham Palace when it first opened to tourists a few years ago but have never been to a garden party before. I decided to ask my daughter and she jumped at the opportunity.
“I’m very proud to have been invited to celebrate the anniversary of a charity that has such a great history of helping so many people.”
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.
Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB, says: “All of us at Blind Veterans UK feel both honoured and very proud to celebrate our Centenary at such a special event. It will be a fantastic day for our veterans, whatever the weather!
“This anniversary also provides the opportunity for us to look forward to the challenges that lie ahead for Blind Veterans UK. It is a critical time for our charity as the number of blind veterans we support is increasing; in the past year, more blind veterans have registered for our help than ever before in the charity’s history and this trend is set to continue.”