One of my most treasured possessions is a tape made for me by my dear friend Harry Wheeler with his friends 35 years ago while working at St Dunstan’s – now Blind Veterans uk. Harry served in the First World War he loved to sing to me and tell me tales of his time in the trenches.
If you would like to donate to St Dunstan’s please follow this link to – Blind Veterans UK where you will find a DONATE button at the top of the page.
To commemorate 100 years since peace was proclaimed, it seems the right time to share these songs to honour his and other precious friends service. I hope through my memoirs with St Dunstan’s will also give the opportunity for donations.
When I was twenty two my mother, Marie lead a team of 25 looking after the day to day care of the residents of Pearson House. At the time I was a beauty consultant for Mary Quant, however, in my spare time I enjoyed spending time with the blind folk. When a full time position came up I applied, it seems I was the youngest care assistant ever to be employed.
Being a care assistant was the best experience of my life, I loved the first and Second World War veterans, and the young soldiers blinded more recently, their brave humour was always inspirational.
On my first day I was asked for the Braille mirror!! I was told to go to the information desk to ask for it.. Laughter rang all around at my naivety … My first day also involved talking to a blind young soldier. A face grey and blue from gunpowder, and wounds where his eyes had been. I think he liked having me to talk to as he was only 19. When I escorted him out to Brighton Pier I remember describing some pretty lace, he brought his Mum a hanky and kindly gave me one too. I also remember how fiercely he clutched my arm as I walked. Harry a First World War veteran and other veterans would walk confidently simply holding my elbow gently.
Harry Wheeler, and the other older veterans would help the newly blind with humour and gentleness. The men all held my hand I remember, for comfort.
I’ve many stories I should love to share to accompany these songs, 55 in total but not all here at this time, starting with songs from the Boer War through the First World War and up to The Second World War
I will be eternally grateful to the men and women who gave me so much for our freedom.