A BLIND veteran from Alcester who has marched at the Cenotaph in London will be experiencing a very different Remembrance Sunday this year due to Covid-19.
John Hodges was due to be marching at the Cenotaph as part of the national Remembrance Sunday commemorations with more than 100 other blind veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
However, the pandemic has meant that the service and march will be drastically reduced this year.
John joined the Royal Army Service Corps for National Service in 1958 and was immediately dispatched to Malaya, where he was part of the joint intelligence centre supporting active service units.
“The best part of my National Service was the comradeship, friendship and support, and it’s something that I’ve felt once again since joining Blind Veterans UK,” said John.
John lost his sight due to macular degeneration. Fortunately, he found out about Blind Veterans UK and started receiving support from the charity in 2017.
“When I was registered severely sight impaired I had to take early retirement, could no longer do voluntary work and became depressed and isolated very quickly.
“Luckily I found out about Blind Veterans UK. When I got back from my introductory week with the charity, my daughter said that she’d got her dad back.”
He continues: “They’ve allowed me to be a part of regular family life again by being able to do simple things, like cook, which you take for granted when you’ve got your sight.
“And during lockdown they’ve done an amazing job of keeping us all connected.”
Although not marching in London, John and other blind veterans will have the opportunity to get together virtually at ‘listen and join in’ parties.
This will help to keep isolated blind veterans connected at such an important time.
“I’m sad not to be able to get to London this year as it had become an important period where the whole family got together. But I’ll hopefully be able to get to a local service here in Alcester where I’ll be remembering some of my fellow Borneo and Malaya veterans who have sadly passed away recently,” he said.