A time to re­mem­ber

War Blinded hold ser­vice

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A poignant Re­mem­brance ser­vice was held at the Scot­tish War Blinded’s Hawk­head Cen­tre yes­ter­day.

The Pais­ley event took place ahead of Re­mem­brance Sun­day when a group from the cen­tre will march past the ceno­taph, in Lon­don, to hon­our the dead of two world wars and other con­flicts.

The ser vice was con­ducted by Rev Robert Craig and the stan­dard of the Scot­tish War Blinded was piped in.

A lay­ing of wreaths fol­lowed at a statue of a First World War sol­dier, which was sculpted by those who at­tend the Hawk­head Cen­tre

The fa­mous lines from Lau­rence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen – “They shall grown not old/As we that are left grow old” – was read by ex-Sergeant Ma­jor Wil­liam Mont­gomerie, 62, who at­tends the cen­tre.

Wil­liam suf­fers from glau­coma is sup­ported by the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

He ex­plained: “I started off with the Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers in Aberdeen at the age of 15-and-a-half and I ended up with 35 years ser­vice be­tween the reg­u­lar Army and the Ter­ri­to­rial Army.

“I was part of the Bri­tish Army in the Rhine in Ger­many, and I served in Canada and Amer­ica.

“I did about four tours in North­ern Ire­land in the 70s.”

Wil­liam started at the cen­tre on the first day it opened one year ago.

He added: “It ’ s a fan­tas­tic place to come along to.

“You’re amongst friends and com­rades and the staff are ex­cel­lent at their jobs.

“It’s like re­turn­ing to the forces fam­ily even though it’s only for a day some­times.

“It has ex­cel­lent fa­cil­i­ties and the staff have all been hand­picked. It’s an ex­cel­lent place to come to.”

Wil­liam said Re­mem­brance Day is a very im­por­tant time of year at the cen­tre.

“A lot of peo­ple have vis­ual prob­lems and they can’t al­ways make it along to lo­cal memo­ri­als with­out as­sis­tance. But here they’re brought in and as­sisted.

“In most cases it gets them out the house as well.

“It’s very im­por­tant to re­mem­ber the fallen in war.

“All of the fallen in war and all of the civil­ians that were in­volved in the ca­su­alty lists as well.

“And with the 100th year com­mem­o­ra­tion com­ing up we should be re­ally thank­ful for those that brought us through the First World War, both men and women and the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion.”

David Martin, 35, was with The Black Watch for a num­ber of years and served in Afghanistan.

He suf­fered sight loss and a brain in­jury in a car ac­ci­dent and has had huge sup­port from Scot­tish War Blinded, which in­cludes tak­ing part in art classes where the statue of the First World War sol­dier was made.

David told us: “I helped build that and I do cook­ery classes too. It’s fan­tas­tic stuff. “I helps me, big time. “I come here on Thurs­days and Fri­days.

“I love this place. It’s the high­light of my week.”

David, who will be one of the con­tin­gent who will march in Lon­don on Sun­day, was deeply im­pressed by the Re­mem­brance ser­vice and added: “It was fan­tas­tic. It was a lovely ser­vice.

“I think it’s very im­por­tant to re­mem­ber all the liv­ing and those in the forces who never made it home.

“It’s im­por­tant to have re­mem­brance. It’s just im­por­tant that ev­ery­one is re­mem­bered.”

Sally Ross is di­rec­tor of the Hawk­head Cen­tre, which is a state-of-the-art fa­cil­ity that sup­ports all vet­er­ans liv­ing with sight loss.

She said: “We run wood work­shops, art, we’ve got a gym, we run quizzes, archery ses­sions, strength and bal­ance, all sorts of things.

“There’s a great push on at the mo­ment to al­le­vi­ate iso­la­tion, es­pe­cially amongst vet­er­ans.

“So, al­though they are tak­ing part in th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties, prob­a­bly what is even more im­por­tant is that they’re de­vel­op­ing a so­cial net­work and they’re mak­ing friends.

“Some­times th­ese guys are not get­ting out of their houses at all, ex­cept to come here once a week.”

Re­mem­brance means a lot to all at the Hawk­head Cen­tre, Ms Ross added.

“And this year Scot­tish War Blinded is very proud to be rep­re­sented at the Re­mem­brance ser­vice in Lon­don. That’s a big mo­ment,

“It ’ s the first time Scot­tish War Blinded have done that,” she added.

Salute Those tak­ing part fell quiet as a mark of re­spect

Tak­ing part

Mov­ing words Lau­rence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen was read out at the me­mo­rial

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