Blind veterans show off their sporting skills at summer camp

Captain Peter Towell OBE, Commanding Officer of HMS Sultan with Arnold Thompson, 82, from Horndean, Brian Lang, 78, and The Mayor of Gosport Cllr. Linda Batty, along with (foreground) Billy Miller, 92. 'Billy and Brian have been involved in every event since its inception ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (170807-6827)
Captain Peter Towell OBE, Commanding Officer of HMS Sultan with Arnold Thompson, 82, from Horndean, Brian Lang, 78, and The Mayor of Gosport Cllr. Linda Batty, along with (foreground) Billy Miller, 92. 'Billy and Brian have been involved in every event since its inception ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (170807-6827)
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BLIND and partially-sighted veterans took on a day of challenges and activities at HMS Sultan.

The veterans travelled from across the country to have a go at basketball, hockey, penalty shootouts and relay races.

Bill Gordon from Brighton eases his way through the 'Chicanery' with (right) 'Dog' 'Tasty' Smith Picture: Malcolm Wells (170807-6884)

Bill Gordon from Brighton eases his way through the 'Chicanery' with (right) 'Dog' 'Tasty' Smith Picture: Malcolm Wells (170807-6884)

After this, the group went around the area trying their hand at crazy golf, gliding and archery.

Brian Lang travels down from Liverpool to the camp every year with his friend, Billy Miller.

A former Royal Army Service Corps driver, Brian lost his eyesight in a vehicle accident in Germany in 1960.

He said: ‘It is great, that’s why I’ve been coming here for so many consecutive years.

‘Over the years you meet your old friends, like Billy who I’ve known for 40 years.

‘We have always kept in touch and you meet other friends down here.

‘This is very important to me, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.’

Andy Salter, the organising secretary for the summer camp, said: ‘The ethos of Blind Veterans promotes independence and getting people back together in a military environment.

‘I’m sure there’s language here that they haven’t used in their own homes for some years – they just look forward to this week and coming back here.

‘This camp is a close-knit family, campers come back year on year but we’re also introducing new campers every year, and it is lovely to see the way they integrate.

‘Often veterans are so used to their families doing things for them that they stop believing they can do things themselves, and it’s also important for their families at home, because this offers valuable respite care.’

Traditionally supported by the Fleet Air Arm Field Gun Crew, the Blind Veterans UK Summer camp has been hosted by HMS Sultan since 1996, following the closure of HMS Daedalus.

Many of those original field gunners are also still involved to this day.