Blind veteran from Leeds to march at London Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday
Simon Brown, 40, from Morley, will be marching as part of the national Remembrance Sunday commemorations, with more than 100 other blind veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
Simon said: “Remembrance is important not only for those that served in the past but also for those I served with and for those serve in the future”.
Simon, who joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1997, worked as a mechanic servicing and maintaining armed vehicles, serving in Germany, Kosovo, Poland, Canada and Iraq.
He lost his sight in 2006 while serving as a corporal, was leading a successful mission to rescue six stranded colleagues in Iraq when he was shot in the face by a sniper, the bullet entered his left cheek and exited the other side.
He awoke 17 days later in a Birmingham hospital. He had lost all sight in his left eye and had to undergo several intensive operations to reconstruct his cheeks and nose. Simon was left with around 20 per cent vision in his right eye.
He says: “When I found out that I’d lost my sight, my world fell apart. I’d lost my career, my job and my future, it sounded to me like my life was over.
“Blind Veterans UK gave me the training and support to move forward with my life and gave me back that sense of belonging that I had when I was in the Army, it’s this unwritten sense of understanding that comes from being in the military.”
“I really enjoyed my time in the military, it gave me the skills and values that directed my life since”.
He now devotes his time to helping to inspire others that there is life after sight loss.
Simon, who has been appointed as chair of the Royal British Legion’s Morley branch, says: “My life has been rebuilt with the help of Blind Veterans UK; I’m evidence of what can be done.”
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.
Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB, Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, said: “Simon will rightly be proud to marchon Remembrance Sunday. This is the time of year when we reflect on the sacrifice and service of all our members of the Armed Forces and their families.”