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The Summer Camp For Blind Veterans

The event gives visually impaired veterans the chance to challenge themselves in a variety of activities, including basketball, hockey, and...

Visually impaired veterans from around the UK have travelled to HMS Sultan in Hampshire to take part in the Blind Veterans UK Summer Camp.

The fornight-long event gives veterans the chance to challenge themselves in a variety of activities, including basketball, hockey, and penalty taking.

The camp has been running for over 70 years, with many exciting and fun activities designed to challenge stereotypes and encourage those who suffer from sight loss to make the most of every opportunity life brings.

Martyn Webb, veteran and event organiser, said: “It’s important for them to get amongst their ex-service friends, have service banter, talk the way they used to talk, have jokes and laugh. (...)

"It’s a great week for them, it really is.”

The camp also gives their guide dogs and their partners back home some valuable respite.

"It takes them out of the care of their families, they trust them into our tender loving care here, bringing them back into a military environment, an environment they’ve all known,” said one of the event organisers, Andy Salter.

Blind Summer Camp 2018
One of the veterans, John Taylor, said: “I’ve been coming here for the last 8 years at least I should think. This bunch of guys down here, we all become a big family. For me, it’s really brilliant.”

John Finley, another veteran, said: “I left the Navy in 1980, and when you come here for the week, you think you’re back in it.

"You get the same banter as what you did then. Can’t whack it, as we say in Scotland.”

Personnel from within HMS Sultan work hard throughout the year to raise the necessary funds to provide the camp free of charge.

During the week, the veterans will also be able to try out activities like fishing, hand-gliding and archery.

Another veteran, Terry Bullingham said his highlight so far had been going out on a boat, when they “nearly went to the Isle of Wight at 35 knots.”

Blind Summer Camp 2018
The Blind Veterans UK Summer Camp runs from 3-18 August, with a total of 17 campers and 26 helpers in the party.

Blind Veterans UK is a charity that provides visually impaired Armed Forces and National Service veterans with support to discover life beyond sight loss.

They care for ex-servicemen and women blinded in action as well as veterans who have lost their sight through accident, illness or old age.