to wonderful ends. That veteran is 90-year old Ted Heasman, who has turned Santa's helper by creating 49 wooden racing cars since joining the charity.
As explained in the Shoreham Herald, Heasman has signalled his
intention to paint his milestone 50th wooden car green, adding: "My sister wants that one." It's a far cry from 12 years ago, when the then-window cleaner and hobbyist woodturner began to lose his sight as a
result of dry age-related macular degeneration - prompting him to sell his lathe.
Ted had to make other major compromises due to the loss of his sight, including giving up driving: "I used to cycle with my
brother-in-law, and then I had to give that up. My wife and I had to travel on buses." However, since getting in touch with Blind Veterans UK in 2012, Ted has been helped to lead a more independent life once more,
including being given a Merlin Low Vision Magnifier for viewing his collection of old photos.
During World War II, Ted was a radar operator for the Royal Navy, serving his first six months on the Isle of Man before
his ship set sail for Asia during Christmas 1943. His next two years were spent on several vessels along the Burmese coast, in the Bay of Bengal and to Sri Lanka.
He positively likened his new experience with Blind
Veterans UK to that he enjoyed during wartime, remarking that "Just coming here is amazing. The comradeship is like the Navy."
Those interested in purchasing any of a complete range of beautifully handmade
wooden bird boxes and racing cars are invited to do so on the Blind Veterans UK website. With many of these gorgeous gifts having been coloured white, red and blue in celebration of the charity's 100th anniversary this
year, we couldn't think of a better way to support such a hugely important cause.