Blind veteran takes to the slopes of the Italian Dolomites - The Rugby Observer

Blind veteran takes to the slopes of the Italian Dolomites

Andy Morris 27th Jan, 2020   0

A BLIND veteran has been skiing for the first time since losing his sight, thanks to the charity that is ‘changing his life’.

Wayne Perry, from Rugby, went to Canazei in the Italian Dolomites along with 22 others as part of Blind Veterans UK’s annual ski trip.

The 61-year-old said: “The ski trip was second to none, I absolutely loved it! It was a great social occasion. The camaraderie and support from everyone was fantastic.

“I’ve been supported by the charity for just over a year now and they are changing my life. I realise now that there are other people in similar situations – I’m not alone.”

Wayne joined the Army in 1975 in the Royal Armoured Corps, serving in Germany, Northern Ireland and the UK, and was discharged in 1993 as a Sergeant Major.

During his time in service, he played football for the British Army and for Great Britain in partially sighted football at both junior and senior level.

He began to lose his sight in the 80s when he was diagnosed with macular scarring while serving in Germany, and now only has a small amount of vision left in his right eye.

He said: “I was told by doctors the sight loss was temporary and would only last 10 days – but it got worse until everything was blurred.”

Ahead of the ski trip, Wayne visited the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton to meet other veterans who would be joining him in Canazei.

“It was great to meet the others before, and made going on the trip less daunting,” he said. “We all travelled to Gatwick together and it was great to meet people like me.”

He also formed a strong bond with his skiing guide, Jonathan. “He was brilliant with me,” Wayne said. “I just want to get on with my life and he understood that. He was there when I needed help and let me be when I didn’t.”

It was on the trip that Wayne was introduced to the idea of getting an OrCam – a wearable camera which can read text to the user.

He explains: “I was speaking to another veteran and he told me that he uses an OrCam to read letters and other text. It reads the text to you and because it takes me ages to read anything, this type of technology would completely change my life!

“Blind Veterans UK are going to introduce me to some other technology too that will help me with my day to day life.”

Blind Veterans UK helps vision-impaired ex-service men and women rebuild their lives after sight loss. Visit for more information.


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