Archie Thomson describes the benefits of Scottish War Blinded membership

Posted: 05/04/2016 | Scottish War Blinded

Archie Thomson served in the RAF in the 1950’s and recently joined Scottish War Blinded as a member having developed Age Related Macular Degeneration in subsequent later life. Archie is highly appreciative of the support Scottish War Blinded has provided and describes his membership experience in this article.

Archie describes how he heard about Scottish War Blinded:

“As a member of Macular Society, I received an invitation to attend one of their exhibition events at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh. My wife felt that there may be something there which could help me out so we went along.

“At the event I was talking to a lady who asked me if I had been in the services. I was introduced to Sharon and Jim who were attending the Scottish War Blinded table. We had a discussion and I left my details so an Outreach Worker could contact me for a further discussion about Scottish War Blinded membership.”

A short time after, Archie was visited by one of Scottish War Blinded’s Outreach Workers who guided him through the application process as well as talking him through rehabilitation and the wide range of activities and social opportunities membership has to offer at the Linburn Centre.

Archie recalls his first visit to the Linburn Centre:

“My wife and I came for a visit to the Linburn Centre and we both thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I thought it was a lovely place, well organised and generally good stuff.”

Archie now attends the Linburn Centre every Monday and describes the benefits of regular visits:

“It’s nice to begin the day with a cup of tea and you’re welcomed by staff who can’t do enough for you. Since joining I have been in the workshop where I have made a rocking horse for my granddaughter and have just begun making a wheelbarrow. I have also tried acoustic shooting, archery, baking skills and have signed up to do bowling now we have the bowling green here at Linburn. I am also looking forward to the battlefields tour which will take place in France later this year.”

Archie served three years in the RAF who was based in Aldergrove, Northern Ireland working as a 2nd line mechanic working on Shackleton Bombers and Hastings transport aircraft and later in the hydraulics and pneumatics section. He left the RAF in 1955 and returned to Edinburgh.

Coming to the Linburn Centre has rekindled the camaraderie he has missed since his time in the RAF and he urges anyone else who has served in the Armed Forces and lives with a visual impairment, either sustained in conflict or developed in subsequent later life, to come forward.

“Scottish War Blinded gets 10 out of 10 from me, I can’t speak highly enough of the service. If I knew anyone else like myself who had served in the armed forces and is now visually impaired I’d certainly tell them about it.”

Scottish War Blinded provides free support to veterans of the armed forces who have a visual impairment sustained either in conflict or subsequently to their service. We support ex-service men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, including Reserves, Queen Alexandra Nursing Corps and National Service. If you or someone you know could benefit from Scottish War Blinded’s activities, call us free today on 0800 035 6409 or visit www.guidethem.org
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