Blind veterans enjoy sports day at Sultan Summer Camp

Blind Veterans from across the UK took part in a Sports Day recently as part of an exciting programme of activities on offer at the HMS Sultan Blind Veterans UK Summer Camp.

Hoopla, basketball, deck hockey and shuttle runs were just some of the challenges undertaken by the group of seventeen veterans, who were aided by their human ‘dogs’, a group of volunteers from HMS Sultan and the retired Service community.

The veterans were gathered in the Naval engineering training Establishment as part of a week packed full of fun and exciting 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. Many of those Field Gunners who were associated with supporting the event prior to the move are still involved to this day.

Earlier this year, the Summer Camp was among a group of five finalists nominated for ‘The Greenwich Hospital Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the Soldiering On Awards 2019, which celebrate the achievements of servicemen and women, veterans, their families and military charities across the UK.

Blind veteran and first-time camper Richard Cruice who served with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards said: “Luckily a young chap who came along last year told me about the Summer Camp and all the different activities and bonding and camaraderie that’s going on, so I thought I would give it a try and so far, all my expectations have been met.

I’m with a great set of people who are really supporting everybody, they’re all hard working and get on great and the banter is fantastic. It’s all been great fun and helped us bond together as a group.”

The Camp doesn’t just bring back the Blind Veterans together, but it also brings back the former members of the Fleet Air Arm Field Gun Crew who have been ‘dogs’ or supporters of this camp for many, many, years and get just as much enjoyment out of doing it as the campers and just can’t walk away from it.

Andy Salter Camp Coordinator

The Commanding Officer of HMS Sultan, Captain John Voyce said: “It is a huge honour to welcome the veterans into HMS Sultan for the Blind Veterans’ Summer Camp. The Camp offers blind veterans a unique environment in which to re-engage in the camaraderie of the Armed Forces.

The week is crammed full of fun activities that challenge not only those taking part, but also the stereotypes around disabilities. Our campers offer an excellent example to us all of what can be achieved with the will to overcome adversity.”