Blind Military Charity to Mark Centenary

Blind Veterans UK is gearing up for a year-long programme of events and activities to celebrate its 100th anniversary. 

The charity, founded in 1915, will mark 100 years of service to blind and vision-impaired ex-service men and women with a range of national and local activities, from commemorative events at Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the charity's three centres in Brighton, Llandudno and Sheffield to special events at sites with historic links to the charity. 

Throughout 2015, the charity will also tell the "story of Blind Veterans UK in 100 objects" and reveal "100 things you didn't know about Blind Veterans UK". 

Blind Veterans UK's chief executive, Major General Nick Caplin, said: "We will mark 100 years of service with more than 100 national and local celebratory events and activities spanning the UK. 

"Our celebrations will cover the charity's key achievements, from our early days helping soldiers blinded in World War One as St Dunstan's and our involvement in pioneering work such as the UK's first white cane training and talking books, to our recent achievements as Blind Veterans UK. 

"Our centenary also provides the opportunity for us to look forward to the challenges that lie ahead for Blind Veterans UK. 

"This is a critical time for our charity as currently we are increasing the number of blind and vision-impaired ex-service men and women we support; in the past year, more blind veterans have registered for our help than ever before in the charity's history and this trend is set to continue. 

"Therefore, as we celebrate our centenary and the remarkable achievements of our forebears, we also look forward to the important work that will keep us busy going forward." 

Blind Veterans UK was initially founded on January 29, 1915 as The Blinded Soldiers and Sailors Care Committee, before renaming itself as St Dunstan's until 2012. 

The charity's initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in the First World War, but the organisation went on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning the Second World War to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Today, Blind Veterans UK provides free services and help to veterans whether their sight loss is due to accidents, illnesses or medical conditions such as macular degeneration.

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