BASKETBALL, hoopla and an obstacle course were just some of the activities enjoyed by blind veterans at a sports camp.
HMS Sultan hosted their annual Blind Veterans UK Summer Camp with a group of 17 veterans aided by their human ‘dogs’ for a fun-filled week at the naval base in Gosport.
Blind Royal Navy veteran Bryan Durber said: ‘This is my 11th year here and the best bit is the camaraderie between all the boys which I really enjoy.
‘I’m fairly good at the hoops but got nothing on the basketball but then again I have had a lot of trouble with my dog!’
The group came from across the UK to participate in the activities aimed at encouraging those who suffer from sight loss to remain independent.
Traditionally supported by the Fleet Air Arm Field Gun Crew, the Blind Veterans UK Summer camp has been successfully hosted by HMS Sultan since 1996 following the closure of HMS Daedalus.
Partially sighted Royal Army Medical Corps veteran Bill Goddon said: ‘I lost my sight in 1963 and my wife is physically disabled.
‘At home she does the seeing jobs and I just do what I’m told. She has just had a week away with the grandchildren, but this is my holiday and I’ve been coming for seven years now.’
Bill’s favourite activity is football.
He said: ‘I have some peripheral vision and football is my best event, although I also enjoy the slalom and hockey. Here you learn ways of doing things without relying on your eyes.’
Bill added: ‘Some of these people I only see here once a year, but it doesn’t take long to get to know them again, just half an hour in the bar and we’re back in the team.
‘If you’ve served in the forces you learn the comradeship and banter and you never forget it.’
The Commanding Officer of HMS Sultan, Captain Peter Towell said: ‘It is a huge privilege to welcome the blind veterans into the Establishment.
‘The campers have a packed programme of activities throughout the week which really challenges stereotypes. They are a wonderful example to us all of what can be achieved with team work,determination and a positive outlook towards life.’