Michael Gray

Scottish War Blinded member, Michael Gray, was the first member to attend the Hawkhead Centre. Michael served in the Royal Navy for four years but was forced to leave service aged just 19 when he sustained a head injury that caused him to lose the sight in one eye.

Michael stands beside the Hawkhead Centre bannerMichael went on to have a 40-year career as an IT consultant, but when he retired he found he began to struggle with his health.

The 66-year-old, of Paisley, said attending the centre has ‘transformed’ his life.

He said: “I was suffering very badly from asthma and I am arthritic in both knees so my mobility was poor. I was really stuck at home on my own and my wife was doing everything for me. Getting out of the house was a real challenge and I wasn’t meeting any other people.

“It affects you because you get sick of your own company and it affects how you feel about yourself. It affects the people around you too. I was used to doing programming and being creative on a daily basis, and I really missed that.

“Since joining Scottish War Blinded I’ve been on a 12-week fitness programme and it has transformed my health. I was leading such a sedentary lifestyle that my breathing was getting shallower and shallower without me noticing. The instructor started me off slowly and we started working on my core strength by doing weights while I was seated and I began walking up and down the centre.

“My breathing has improved a huge amount and now I can even go into town on my own - I just bench hop around. It’s great because I can talk over any worries I have about my breathing with the instructors and they tell you what’s normal and encourage you to keep it up.

“I feel much more positive and motivated and my wife is much less worried about me now. I’ve even started cooking – I was able to make my wife a curry for the first time ever the other day.

“I’ve taken up woodwork and I’m hoping to get my own woodworking shed at home. I think taking part in activities at the centre inspires you to do more at home. I’ve been given some equipment like lights and magnifiers so I can do activities at home like sewing. I can’t speak highly enough of the staff here and I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me.”