A BLIND veteran from Oxfordshire is to march at The Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Sunday with the charity Blind Veterans UK.

Ken Cook, 95, from Watlington, will be marching as part of national commemorations, with more than 100 other blind veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

Mr Cook joined the Royal Navy in 1942 and completed his boys training in Ipswich.

After turning 18, he joined a convoy of Motor Gun Boats and started anti-submarine patrols and mine sweeping in the Mediterranean.

He took part in various missions during the Second World War including the Battle of Anzio in 1944.

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Despite being attacked by aircraft on countless occasions, he made it out of the war unscathed and left the Royal Navy in 1946.

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Mr Cook lost his sight much later in life due to macular degeneration, a major cause of sight loss in older people. Then he found out about Blind Veterans UK and started receiving support from the charity in 2016.

Oxford Mail:

The veteran said: “I don’t think I could have existed these last few years without the support of Blind Veterans UK, they saved me. It’s the things that allow you to keep your independence that make the biggest difference. I’ve been given a special reader that blows up documents to a huge size. That means I can still read my letters.

The best thing that’s happened though is the lovely home visitor volunteer that Blind Veterans UK set me up with. Sue visits me every week and it is always the highlight of my week.

She helps me with various bits and bobs and it’s great just to have a cup of tea and a chat.”

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Mr Cook recently joined fellow blind veterans on a tour of the battlefields in Normandy. He said: “It was hugely moving to be over there. We held a small service at every beach to remember those who died there and I was asked to read out the famous ‘they shall not grow old’ poem.”

Mr Cook will be marching with 100 other blind veterans at The Cenotaph. He said: “It was my first time marching last year and I’m so excited to be going back.

"The crowds make you feel very important and it does leave you feeling very proud - it is emotional. I will especially be remembering my father, who served as a Staff Sergeant Farrier in France during the First World War.”

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Blind Veterans UK was founded more than 100 years ago to support those blinded in the First World War. Now the charity supports veterans regardless of when they served or how they lost their sight.

Chief executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB, said: “Ken will rightly be proud to march with our blind veterans this Remembrance Sunday.

"This is the time of year when we reflect on the sacrifice and service of all our members of the Armed Forces and their families.”