Blind Beccles veteran to join charity in march to London's Cenotaph
A blind veteran from Beccles will be marching to the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Sunday.
Nick Barber, 55, will be joining the march for the sixth time with more than 100 other blind veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-service men and women.
Mr Barber joined the Royal Air Force in 1983 when he was 22. He qualified as a police dog handler and served in the UK at RAF Honington, RAF Newton and RAF Laarbruch in Germany. He was also responsible for moving a dog handling facility from Stanley to RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands. He said: “Remembrance Sunday is such an incredible occasion and once you’ve been you never want to miss it again. It’s important to remember those who have gone before me and it’s such an honour to represent Blind Veterans UK and march with them. I still get excited every time I go.”
After serving in the RAF for 13 years, Mr Barber was discharged as a corporal in 1996. He started working at the National Blood Service in Norfolk and met his wife Jackie.
It was in 2001 that he gradually began to lose his sight, and after a visit to his opticians he was told that he might have had a stroke. It wasn’t until six months later that he received a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that causes blindness.
Mr Barber said: “I lost my job and everything just went downhill from there. One day I had the freedom to go wherever I wanted and the next I didn’t. I felt really demotivated.”
Six years later he applied for his veterans badge and within the application pack there was a leaflet for Blind Veterans UK. Nick contacted the charity and in 2007 he started to receive support. He has been given free specialist equipment to help him stay independent with sight loss.
To find out more about the charity call 0800 389 7979 or visit noonealone.org.uk.