‘Our whole fam­ily is so thank­ful’

Daugh­ter praises blind vet­eran char­ity’s care

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

THE DAUGH­TER of a blind Sec­ond World War vet­eran who was part of RAF Bomber Com­mand, has praised the char­i­ta­ble help she’s re­ceived since he lost his vi­sion.

69-year-old Jeni Mor­gan, from Ick­en­ham, has been recog­nised by na­tional char­ity, Blind Vet­er­ans UK, for the help and sup­port she gives her fa­ther as part of Car­ers Week, which ran from June 6 to 12.

Des Dowd­ing, aged 94, from Ruislip, has re­ceived sup­port from Blind Vet­er­ans UK since 2007.

He joined the war ef­fort in his late teens, was posted to Bomber Com­mand and then be­came a nav­i­ga­tor.

He is lucky to be alive as the plane he usu­ally flew in was shot down over Hol­land, but he had been stood down from fly­ing at the brief­ing ear­lier that day.

This Car­ers Week, Blind Vet­er­ans UK is recog­nis­ing the enor­mous con­tri­bu­tion peo­ple like Jeni make, and that’s why it is reach­ing out to vi­sion im­paired vet­er­ans and The Uxbridge Gazette Series their car­ers who could be ben­e­fit­ting from its ser­vices and sup­port.

Jeni said: “My sis­ter Fay and I care for my dad.

“It can be quite stren­u­ous since my fa­ther still weighs a lot and so car­ing for him can be very tir­ing.

“We have had to take on the role of car­ers since our mum died in 2015 and so have had to ad­just our lives to car­ing for our dad.

“We are quite for­tu­nate how­ever, be­cause we re­ceived help from Blind Vet­er­ans UK and then dad goes quite reg­u­larly to the char­ity’s cen­tre in Brighton.

“They sup­port us bril­liantly and when he goes to Brighton we know he is be­ing well looked af­ter and it gives us a chance to rest as well.”

It was when Des was 80 that he first started to lose his vi­sion.

Age-re­lated de­gen­er­a­tion mac­u­lar quickly robbed him of most of his sight, mak­ing liv­ing in­de­pen­dently much harder. Des had to im­me­di­ately give up driv­ing and could no longer read or watch foot­ball.

For­tu­nately, Des has been sup­ported by Blind Vet­er­ans UK since 2007. The char­ity has given him the skills, con­fi­dence and equip­ment to keep on en­joy­ing life, de­spite the chal­lenges sight loss brings.

This has be­come all the more im­por­tant since his wife of 72 years, Lillian, passed away in 2015.

Jeni said: “My fa­ther has been helped enor­mously by Blind Vet­er­ans UK since he lost his sight.

“It was very dif­fi­cult for him ini­tially to ac­cept and ad­just to the loss of his sight, but meet­ing other blind vet­er­ans and get­ting spe­cial­ist train­ing and equip­ment has re­ally helped him.”

As well as pro­vid­ing Des with fre­quent breaks to Brighton, Blind Vet­er­ans UK has also ad­vised and given Des sev­eral use­ful pieces of equip­ment which helps him to con­tinue liv­ing in his own Ruislip flat.

Des en­joys lis­ten­ing to the foot­ball on his ra­dio which is de­signed specif­i­cally for the vi­sion­im­paired.

He also has a liq­ui­dlevel in­di­ca­tor which helps him make tea by buzzing when hot wa­ter reaches near to the top of the mug.

He has also re­cently re­ceived new glasses which will help him to get out and about by re­duc­ing glare.

Jeni said: “My dad is de­lighted with all the equip­ment he has been pro­vided with. It all helps him to live safely in his own flat.”

Des re­mains a very so­cial man. As well as en­joy­ing spend­ing time with other vi­sion­im­paired vet­er­ans when he goes to the Blind Vet­er­ans UK cen­tre in Brighton, he has friends who visit him most days of the week in his flat.

Jeni said: “Our whole fam­ily is so thank­ful that my dad is sup­ported by Blind Vet­er­ans UK.

“He al­ways comes back from the char­ity’s cen­tre hap­pier and with stories to tell.

“The char­ity re­ally helps all of us and the Blind Vet­er­ans UK wel­fare of­fi­cer who sup­ports us, Su­san Sims, is ab­so­lutely su­perb.”

Blind Vet­er­ans UK is the na­tional char­ity for blind and vi­sion im­paired ex-Ser­vice men and women, pro­vid­ing vi­tal prac­ti­cal and emo­tional sup­port to help vet­er­ans, like Des, dis­cover life be­yond sight loss.

The char­ity has three cen­tres in Brighton, Sh­effield and Llan­dudno, North Wales and a net­work of wel­fare of­fi­cers around the UK.

If you, or some­one you know, served in the Armed Forces or did Na­tional Ser­vice and is now bat­tling se­vere sight loss, find out how Blind Vet­er­ans UK could help by call­ing 0800 389 7979 or vis­it­ing www. noonealone.org.uk.

n GRATE­FUL: Jeni Mor­gan with her 94-year-old WWII vet­eran fa­ther, Des Dowd­ing who is sup­ported by Blind Vet­er­ans UK

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