Bill Cooper

Visually impaired National Service veteran Bill Cooper, of Glasgow is the star of a new advertising campaign, raising awareness of the wide range of people eligible for our support. 

Looking back over 30 years ago, Bill can remember when forced to retire from the coach driving job he loved due to his worsening Macular Degeneration, he began to resign himself to becoming increasingyly isolated.

Over the next 26 years, he became increasingly confined to home, as his sight worsened. 4 years ago, a friend told him about Scottish War Blinded, and how his National Service made him eligible for the charity’s free lifelong membership.

Tentatively he got in touch with the charity in 2012, and was invited to visit the Linburn Centre in West Lothian. Since his first visit, he feels the positive impact the charity has had upon his life has been transformative.

Bill says ‘Finding out I was eligible for membership means I feel like I've been given me a new life. It's like I've been born again, with all the support, training and equipment I've been given. 

Previously Bill had felt unable to leave his house without his wife, but with the one-to-one support of one of our rehabilitation officers, he learnt how to adopt strategies to travelling safely alone. Bill says ‘’I’m now quite confident in navigating buses and trains on my own to visit the Linburn Centre on a weekly basis.’ These visits have become key focus of Bill’s life and as he says; ‘have allowed me to feel useful again. I have found skills in woodworking which mean I’ve made toys and gifts for my grandchildren.’ The closely supervised activities at the centre are designed to be social safe enviornments where veterans can pick up new skills, increasing their overall confidence.

The social events the charity offers has made a big difference too: Bill says meeting other veterans who also experienced Macualar Degeneration and other types of age related sight loss has helped me feel much more positive. The charity has helped me with social opportunities which are a fantastic way to get out the house. Speaking with others who have had the same difficulties with their sight is so comforting.’

Recently, Bill and his wife began to worry his mobility problems would make getting in and out of their bathtub more difficult and potentially dangerous. This was a real worry for the couple, who knew it would be an expensive job to refit the bathroom as an accessible wet room. Scottish War Blinded stepped in with a finanicial contribution towards the cost of the new accessible bathroom which made it possible to start the work.

Bill commented;  ‘I’m delighted to be part of this advertising campaign, because if it wasn’t for Scottish War Blinded I would now be worrying about staying in our family home, and now we feel confident that it’s a safe place to be as I get older.’

Scottish War Blinded supports veterans all over Scotland, who like Bill, lost their sight due to age related conditions, many years after they served. The charity estimates that there is many more veterans in Scotland, eligible for our free support, who don’t realise we are for them. Help them by calling us today on 0800 035 6409 to refer them to us to receive life changing support.