A blind former National Serviceman and artist who worked to keep Britain safe in the event of a nuclear attack has thanked a national charity for helping him live independently with sight loss.
Peter Barrington, 85 and from Norwich, praised Blind Veterans UK for being a “huge help”.
Having begun to lose his sight years after serving in the Army, Peter is receiving free and comprehensive support from the charity to help him live independently.
Peter, whose paintings of military planes can still be seen in galleries across the country, started to lose his sight twelve years ago.
Since after waking up one morning and seeing violent flashes of light, he has completely lost vision in his right eye and begun to lose sight in his left.
He says: “The worst part of losing my sight was that I had to give up painting – some of my pictures of military aircraft are still in the national collection, but my eyesight just wasn’t good enough to continue with it.”
Peter is now supported by Blind Veterans UK, having applied for support from the charity two years ago. He says: “I didn’t know I was eligible for support from Blind Veterans UK until someone at my local blind association suggested it.
“The charity has been a huge help to me – they’ve given me equipment to help do everyday tasks more easily. Blind Veterans UK has been so helpful and really helped me to live with sight loss.”
Peter was called up in 1947 and trained as a shorthand typist in the Royal Army Service Corps. During his time in the Army, Peter served in a British POW camp in Egypt and as a military court reporter in Palestine.
He says: “I was there when Israel was founded and was stationed in the country for the first few weeks of its existence. A lot changed very quickly there, and it was a very exciting time to be in the Army.”
Following his service, Peter worked in the Royal Observer Corps for 30 years. As second-in-command of an Observer group, Peter was responsible for emergency planning in the case of a nuclear attack during the Cold War.
“My everyday work involved maintaining around 30 underground bunkers, making sure that the instruments worked and the operations room was ready to use if the worst ever happened.
“In the event of a nuclear attack, we would confirm the attack and send out a broadcast on an emergency frequency for anyone who needed the information.”
The charity estimates that there are 68,000 plus blind veterans who, like Peter, are eligible for the charity’s services but are not currently aware of this.
If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces – did National Service perhaps, and are now battling severe sight problems – Blind Veterans UK may well be able to provide them and their family with a lifetime’s practical and emotional support for free.
Call freephone – 0800 389 7979 or go to www.noonealone.org.uk.