Blind Rugby veteran set to march at the Cenotaph alongside charity Blind Veterans UK

Wayne served in the Army for more than 18 years
Wayne said he is really looking forward to the march.Wayne said he is really looking forward to the march.
Wayne said he is really looking forward to the march.

A blind veteran from Rugby is set to march at the Cenotaph in London for the first time this Remembrance Sunday with the charity Blind Veterans UK.

Wayne Perry, 62 will be marching at the Cenotaph as part of the national Remembrance Sunday commemorations with more than 30 other blind veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

Wayne joined the Army in 1975 as a solider in the Junior Leaders Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps.

He then transferred into the adult regiment in 1976.

He spent his military career working in the UK, Germany, Cyprus and Northern Ireland, enjoying a range of roles, particularly in the 13th/18th Royal Hussars, Queen Mary’s Own.

Wayne also represented the British Army at junior and senior level football.

Having served for 18 and a half years, he left the Army in 1993.

He said: “Due to my eye condition, I felt it would be unfair to myself and the people around me to stay in the Army.

"At the time, we were roughly 12 months into the amalgamation with the Light Dragoons. Because it was a new start for everyone, I thought I’ll make it a new start for me and become a civilian.”

Wayne lost his sight due to macular damage caused by Toxoplasmosis, which is a blood-borne disease that results from an infection from a parasite.

Fortunately, Wayne found out about Blind Veterans UK and started receiving support from the charity in 2019.

He said: "When I first got the illness, it hit me hard. I was a young man, doing well in my military career, playing football at junior and senior level for the Army.

"And I lost all of that overnight. Blind Veterans UK have been brilliant because they get you to realise there is a life there, whereas I didn’t have that support initially.

"One of the first opportunities I got was to go adventure training in Cambridge, and I absolutely loved it.

"I then got the opportunity to go skiing in Italy and I thoroughly enjoyed that.

“Because Blind Veterans UK links with local organisations, they put me in touch with Warwickshire Vision Support.

"With the help of both organisations, I have been given glasses to help me watch the TV; a liquid level indicator that stops me from burning my fingers when pouring; as well as small adaptations for the microwave and cooker so I can feel where the different switches and levels are.”

Wayne, who now volunteers as a standard bearer for his local RBL branch, Rugby No.1, will be marching with fellow blind veterans at the Cenotaph this Remembrance Sunday.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to the weekend.

"Remembrance means a lot to me as many of my family are ex-military, including my father, brother, uncles and cousins.

"My father was in the Royal Signals and was sadly injured in a bombing during the 1950s uprising in Cyprus.

"My grandfather was also in the First World War at 14 years of age.

"It does mean a lot to say thank you to all those who tried to keep peace and without them, we wouldn’t be the country that we are today.”

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. Throughout the pandemic the charity has supported veterans, particularly those who are most vulnerable - whether they need food delivered, medication from their pharmacy or a friendly voice over the phone.

Blind Veterans UK still runs more than 45 virtual group support sessions a week.

Chief executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB says: “This year we will hopefully be able to experience a more normal Remembrance Sunday once again and it will be fantastic to march with veterans like Wayne for the first time.

“More than 90 per cent of the blind veterans we support are over 70 and so were most at risk from COVID-19.

“We have found new ways of supporting them throughout the last 18 months and it has meant that we have been able to keep them connected as well as ensuring practical support is still there for the most vulnerable.”

Visit to learn more about the charity.