A blind veteran has received an award for outstanding achievement in art and photography from military charity Blind Veterans UK.
Will Phillips, 60, of Fareham, received the award at Blind Veterans UK Founder’s Day Awards at the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton.
He said: ‘It’s the third year I’ve been nominated for a Founder’s Day Award so I was secretly thinking “It’s got to be this time!”. It’s a proud day.’
Will was nominated for his ‘infectious enthusiasm’ and ‘pioneering photography’ by Louise Partridge, art and craft supervisor at Blind Veterans UK, and Hattie Lockhart-Smith, art and craft instructor at Blind Veterans UK.
On May 14, nine of Will’s photographs will go on display at Portsmouth Central Library as part of the VI Photographer’s Exhibition.
Stationary retinal vein disorder, which Will suffers from, prevented him from achieving his dream career – joining the regular Army. Instead, he joined the Territorial Army, in which he served from 1975 to 1979 in the Army Catering Corps.
He said the severe impairment to his sight had really affected his confidence.
‘I stopped doing the things I loved, like photography, because I found it too frustrating.’
Fortunately Will began receiving the support of Blind Veterans UK in 2013. They provided training and equipment, encouraging him to take up photography.
‘The training and support of Blind Veterans UK has helped me not only regain my confidence in art and photography but also to challenge myself to try new techniques,’ he said.
Chief executive of Blind Veterans UK Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB said: ‘Will, along with the other nominees and winners, are shining examples of all that can be done to achieve victory over blindness.’