A BLIND war veteran has raised more than £2,000 with a close friend for Blind Veterans UK.

Peter Phipps, who has been supported by the charity since 2013, has travelled to nine Freemasons’ lodges across Oxfordshire, with guide dog Misty, to give talks about the charity.

Along with close friend of 25 years and fellow mason Roger Hampshire, from Witney, the pair sought donations for each talk and have now collected more than £2,000.

Mr Phipps, 86, from Kidlington, said: “Being told at the eye hospital that there was nothing they could do and that I would eventually become totally blind was very hard.

“I felt pretty low for quite a while and was just about ready to hand my ticket in.

“I am so thankful to Blind Veterans UK, they really have saved my life.

“They have provided me with training and equipment that has been so helpful I would call it life-changing.

“The best piece of equipment I have been given is a talking CCTV reader.

“It blows up documents to a huge size and also reads them out to me.

“It means I can carry on dealing with my own letters and keep my independence.”

During the Second World War Mr Phipps served in the Parachute Regiment.

But he declined to reveal any details about his wartime service.

He later became an instrument mechanic at RAF Upper Heyford near Bicester and was discharged from the service in 1949.

Blind Veterans UK said Mr Phipps has for the past five years suffered from retinal vein occlusion, in which spots of blood and protein can leak out of veins and into the retina, affecting vision.

He was first introduced to Blind Veterans UK in 2013 by a friend, and has volunteered for them since then.

Mr Hampshire said: “I met Peter in 1990 and we became friends from the start.

“We started the talks in March and we get donations.

“He is very remarkable because he never really complains about being blind.

“He gets on and deals with it.

“A few weeks ago he started to learn to to ride a bike.

“We go dancing together on a Thursday at the Woodstock Social Club for ballroom dancing.

“He has just good enough vision to follow the metal bit on the carpet edge.”