Scottish War Blinded celebrates centenary

Painting at the  Scottish War Blinded Linburn Centre. Picture: Callum Bennetts
Painting at the Scottish War Blinded Linburn Centre. Picture: Callum Bennetts
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It was started as a way to help soldiers who had been blinded by poison gas in the horrifying conflicts of World War One.

Now, 100 years later, 
Scotland’s charity for visually impaired veterans is setting out plans to celebrate its centenary with a programme of events across the country to celebrate the achievements of veterans with sight loss and the 
commitment of our staff and supporters.

Carpentry in 1922

Carpentry in 1922

The charity began with a meeting in the capital on April 14, 1915, at which it was decided that a centre be established to provide rehabilitation and training to blinded soldiers and sailors.

By May, Scottish War Blinded began to receive the first blinded soldiers at a residential centre in Grange Loan, Edinburgh, who received training in Braille and vocational skills at workshops on Nicolson Street.

With the charity’s guidance, the blinded war veterans went on to display remarkable courage in adapting to life after sight loss. In recent years, the charity has expanded its remit to support those who have been blinded subsequent to their service – no matter how or when they lost their sight.

Events to mark the centenary will include Scottish veterans of various conflicts touring Ypres, where the first gas attacks were launched by the German Army in 1915, to gain a better understanding of the horrific impact of poison gas upon British troops in the trenches.

An exhibition, A Century of Expanding Horizons, will be held at the Central Library in November to guide the public through notable achievements of veterans supported by the charity in the last 100 years.

There will also be a series of challenge matches between a team of veterans versus blind bowling clubs across 
Scotland which will celebrate the importance of the sport in charity’s history.

The centenary celebrations will culminate in December with the opening of the Centenary Sports Hall at the 
Linburn Centre, West Lothian – a new sports facility for visually impaired veterans, which will enhance the specialist sports provision available in Scotland.

Scottish War Blinded Chief Executive Richard Hellewell said: “It is good to recognise how far our charity has come in 100 years.”

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