A BLIND veteran from Alcester is set to march at the Cenotaph in London this Remembrance Sunday, November 11, with the charity Blind Veterans UK.
John Hodges, aged 80, will be joined by more than 100 other blind veterans supported by the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
This year the commemorations are particularly significant as the nation marks the centenary of the end of the First World War.
“It’s a great privilege to not only represent myself but also my family at the Cenotaph.
“I have a real sense of personal achievement by marching as after my sight loss I was extremely depressed.
“Blind Veterans UK have brought me back to my former self, with this day representing the pinnacle of my comeback.”
He added: “I will be remembering two of my Great Uncles who served in the Royal West Kent Regiment during the First World War and who sadly never returned.
“Their names feature on a memorial in France for those with no named grave. I will also be remembering those who I served with in Malaya.”
John did his national service in the Royal Army Service Corps joining up 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, who lost his sight due to macular degeneration.
“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 had got her dad back.”
Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 to support those blinded in the First World War.
Now, the charity supports veterans regardless of when they served or how they lost their sight.
The charity’s chief executive Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB said: “Remembrance Sunday is a very poignant time for our blind veterans as we reflect on the sacrifice and service of all members of the Armed Forces.”
Visit blindveterans.org.uk/victory to learn more about the charity.