Blind military veteran shocked to receive award

A blind veteran from Wooler has received a military charity’s highest honour to recognise his outstanding achievements in sport.

By Ian Smith
Friday, 12 April, 2019, 08:27
Wooler man Andy Bache has received the Life Beyond Sight Loss award from the military charity Blind Veterans UK.

Andy Bache, 45, was presented with the Life Beyond Sight Loss prize from Blind Veterans UK at its Founders Day Awards held at the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Llandudno.

“I feel shocked to have received the award but very humbled,” said Andy.

He was nominated by Jo Cliff, community support worker in the North East community team at Blind Veterans UK. He has been awarded for rediscovering his love of sport and for taking on a number of sporting challenges, despite his sight loss.

In her nomination proposal, Jo said: “Andy used to box for the Army and also used to dive and swim for Southampton. Prior to losing his sight, he was running 10 miles every morning. It was devastating for Andy to believe all this was lost.

“So, new goals were set. With the support of colleagues at Brighton Centre, Andy is now back in his local pool. It is inspiring to reflect on his year of personal successes and achievement, as well as his courage and commitment to dig deep and rebuild his life.”

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As well as his sporting success, Andy has been attending IT classes to develop his skills.

He said: “I hope to go to university to study psychology next year and then hope to complete a masters in counselling. Blind Veterans UK will supply me with a laptop for my studies. The opportunity to go to university is all thanks to Blind Veteran UK – I was lost before I found them.”

Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin, chief executive of Blind Veterans UK, said: “Our Founders Day Awards are the highest honour Blind Veterans UK gives to the veterans we support. Every year we recognise the achievements of veterans like Andy who have really demonstrated the values we hold as a charity.”

Blind Veterans UK helps vision-impaired ex-Service men and women of every generation rebuild their lives after sight loss. Since 1915, the charity has provided rehabilitation, training, practical advice and emotional support to tens of thousands of blind veterans.

Blind Veterans UK currently supports more blind veterans than ever before in the charity’s history, but it knows there are many more who still need its support to rebuild their lives following their sight loss.