Military charity joins Remembrance Parade in new Rustington home
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The charity relocated its south coast Centre of Wellbeing to Rustington from Ovingdean earlier this year and has been busy settling its permanent residents and recruiting new staff.
Two of the centre’s residents, 102-year-old Nancy Bowstead and 100-year old Ken Hobbs joined local blind veteran Jim Dunn, 82, in laying wreaths during the town’s Remembrance Service on Sunday 12 November. Nancy and Jim were supported by Blind Veterans UK staff on the day and Ken was joined by his son.
Blind veteran Alan Walker, who is also from West Sussex, carried the charity’s Standard.
Those residents who were unable to take part in the service at Rustington War Memorial were able to partake in Remembrance at the centre during a service led by Padre George.
On Armistice Day staff from Blind Veterans UK laid a wreath and marked the two-minute silence at the St Dunston’s Cemetery in Brighton.
Community Engagement Lead for the Rustington Centre, Jo Parker-Smith, said: “Taking part in the Remembrance event in Rustington was an honour, not only due to the importance of the occasion but also as our first opportunity to join the local community. We received a lovely warm welcome and our blind veterans were invited to lead the parade.
“Meanwhile, we continue to take care of the St Dunston’s Cemetery and it is still very much in our minds and was important that we marked Remembrance at the site.”
A group of blind veterans supported by the charity, alongside members of staff and volunteers, also marked Remembrance at Brighton Train Station. A two-minute silence, during which the trains were stopped, was held and wreaths were laid at the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway War Memorial
Blind veteran Tony Harbour, who served with the RAF Police, said: ““Having the opportunity to lay a wreath and to be part of Remembrance Day events is a wonderful thing. I laid the wreath on behalf of Blind Veterans UK which was an honour. It’s an honour every year that I stand and remember the fallen.
“Those who fought for our freedom must never be forgotten, they gave their lives so we can be who we are today. It’s about remembering so many people including my father who fought in the First World War and fellow veterans who are no longer with us but were like brothers to me.”
The wreaths laid by blind veterans in both Rustington and Brighton had been gifted as part of the charity’s ‘Gift a Wreath’ campaign.
Thea Pharmaceuticals and interior designers HomeSmiths, who have recently assisted in the refurbishment of the Blind Veterans UK Centre in Rustington, gifted the wreaths that were laid.
If you would like to ‘Gift a Wreath’ and help blind veterans take part in Remembrance next year, visit Blind Veterans UK’s website: blindveterans.org.uk/giftawreath
Blind Veterans UK supports thousands of blind veterans across the country, but knows there are many thousands more who still need its support to rebuild their lives after sight loss.
If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, and are now struggling with sight loss, then please get in touch. Call 0800 389 7979 or visit: blindveterans.org.uk/gethelp