Carry on actress Dame Barbara Windsor surprised 17 veterans attending a charity Christmas lunch at Blind Veterans UK’s London headquarters yesterday (12 December).
The veterans, who are beneficiaries of the charity, were invited for Christmas lunch to mark the launch of Blind Veterans UK’s first piece of research into veterans’ social isolation.
Released yesterday, the Blind Veterans UK Isolation Survey reported that 61% of older veterans admitted that they became increasingly isolated following sight loss.
The charity, which offers support to veterans of all ages who have experienced sight loss, has stressed that the findings “overwhelmingly” indicate the need for specialist support for this group of people.
This is reinforced by findings that revealed that, after receiving the charity’s support, 86% of respondents said that the charity’s support had helped them to feel less isolated.
Dame Barbara Windsor, who is a long-time supporter of Blind Veterans UK, said: “I want to make sure that Blind Veterans UK is reaching as many veterans as possible. No one who has served our country should have to battle sight loss alone, and no one should feel isolated or lonely as a consequence of sight loss.”
Blind Veterans UK estimates that currently 59,000 blind veterans are eligible for support, but very little access it.
Dame Windsor encouraged: “If you, or anyone you know, previously served in the Armed Forces, or did National Service, and now suffers from severe sight loss, please encourage them to get in touch with the charity.”