Veterans with sight loss proudly represent Scottish War Blinded in Cenotaph March Past

Press Release | 10/11/2019

Scottish War Blinded veterans overcame the challenges of sight loss on Remembrance Sunday as they proudly marched in the Cenotaph March Past in London.

A 20-strong group of former servicemen and women from Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Argyll and Bute, Aberdeen and Dundee, represented the charity on an emotional and empowering day. All have a visual impairment.

Several veterans in the group attend the charity’s Paisley-based activity hub, the Hawkhead Centre, on a regular basis.

Scottish War Blinded veterans and staff together after the Match Past

Coatbridge veteran Agnes Houston MBE, 70, acted as wreath bearer for the charity.

Agnes, who served with the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) in the late 1960s, and has neurological sight loss due to dementia, said: “I felt very emotional and also very proud to represent Scottish War Blinded. I also felt very safe to have my comrades around me, as we are a family.

5 Scottish War Blinded members with staff at the March Past

“It was very emotional to feel the warmth from the members of the public and it made me feel very proud to be part of something special. I was very humbled to be part of the day.

“Scottish War Blinded have given me the confidence to get out and about again. They have removed the fear.”

This was the second time Scottish War Blinded has taken part in the March Past, with last year’s centenary of the end of World War One marking their first appearance in the parade.

Agnes Houston MBE carries the wreath for Scottish War Blinded

The charity was founded in 1915 to help veterans blinded during World War One. Today, Scottish War Blinded supports ex-servicemen and women with sight loss across Scotland, including National Service veterans, no matter how and when they lost their sight.

The group were accompanied and guided throughout their trip and on the parade by Scottish War Blinded staff.

Hawkhead Centre Manager, Gillian McDonald, who coordinated the trip for the veterans, said: “Our veterans did us proud. This was a special and moving occasion, and it understandably meant a lot to all of us at Scottish War Blinded.

Harvey and John at the March Past

“We are dedicated to empowering our veterans across Scotland to maintain their independence, despite sight loss. For some, this was the first time they had taken part in the March Past and we are delighted we could support them to achieve their goal and unite with their fellow veterans on this important day. It was a privilege to accompany these inspiring individuals.”

Scottish War Blinded gives free support to former servicemen and women of all ages, no matter if they lost their sight during or after service. Visit www.scottishwarblinded.org or call 0800 035 6409 to refer a veteran to the charity.