To help a blind veteran participate in the Cenotaph March Past on Remembrance Sunday, staff members from a local opticians walked 10km across Brecon in spectacles that simulated severe sight loss.
Barry-born Roger Williams, aged 71, was able to join approximately 100 other blind former servicemen and women for the poignant experience after the Specsavers Brecon team raised £238.96 for Blind Veterans UK, a national charity that helps organise blind veterans’ participation in the march each year.
‘Rollercoaster of emotions’
‘As always, it was a rollercoaster of emotions,’ said Mr Williams, who served in the Royal Artillery from 1964 and 1975 who has participated in the Cenotaph March Past previously.
‘It was great to catch up with so many old faces. That was a real high. Make no mistake though, when the gun goes off at 11am that’s the lowest of the low, because there’s only one thing on your mind.’
The team donned spectacles they made in store to experience common sight loss conditions before walking through Brecon town and the mixed woodlands of Priory Groves for Mr Williams, who lost his sight suddenly in 1992 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
The money raised contributed to the cost of his accommodation and meals during the weekend.
A daunting experience
Mikhaila Stephens, manager of the Specsavers Brecon store, said: ‘Even though we could have removed the spectacles at any time, it was still really daunting and quite scary walking that distance with vision-loss.
‘For us, it was a challenging morning activity that enabled us to raise money for a good cause, but for many people that is simply their daily life.
'Blind Veterans UK offers vital emotional and practical support to ex-veterans living with vision-impairment, and we are proud to have contributed to the fantastic work it does.’