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Blind Veterans enjoy sports day at HMS Sultan summer camp

8 August 2018
Blind Veterans from across the UK took part in a Sports Day recently as part of an exciting programme of activities on offer at the HMS Sultan Blind Veterans UK Summer Camp.

Hoopla, basketball, deck hockey and an obstacle course were just some of the challenges undertaken by the group of seventeen veterans, who were aided by their human ‘dogs’, a group of volunteers from HMS Sultan and the retired Service community.

The veterans were gathered in the Naval engineering training Establishment as part of a week packed full of fun and exciting activities aimed at encouraging those who suffer from sight loss to remain independent. 

Traditionally supported by the Fleet Air Arm Field Gun Crew, the Blind Veterans UK Summer camp has been successfully hosted by HMS Sultan since 1996 following the closure of HMS Daedalus.

They are a wonderful example to us all of what can be achieved with team work, determination and a positive outlook towards life.

Captain Peter Towell RN

Many of those Field gunners who were associated with supporting the event prior to the move are still involved to this day.

Blind RN veteran Bryan Durber said: “This is my 11th year here and the best bit is the camaraderie between all the boys which I really enjoy.

“I’m fairly good at the hoops but got nothing on the basketball but then again I have had a lot of trouble with my dog!” (David Hazelwood).”

Partially sighted Royal Army Medical Corps veteran Bill Goddon said: “I lost my sight in 1963 and my wife is physically disabled.

“At home she does the seeing jobs and I just do what I’m told. She has just had a week away with the grandchildren, but this is my holiday and I’ve been coming for 7 years now.”

“Some of these people I only see here once a year, but it doesn’t take long to get to know them again, just half an hour in the bar and we’re back in the team.

“If you’ve served in the Forces you learn the comradeship and banter and you never forget it. It gives you the resilience to overcome the hardships.”

“I have some peripheral vision and football is my best event, although I also enjoy the slalom and hockey. Here you learn ways of doing things without relying on your eyes.”

The Commanding Officer of HMS Sultan, Captain Peter Towell said: “It is a huge privilege to welcome the blind veterans into the Establishment.”

“The campers have a packed programme of activities throughout the week which really challenges stereotypes.

“They are a wonderful example to us all of what can be achieved with team work, determination and a positive outlook towards life.”

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