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Blind veteran handcrafts wooden Christmas gifts

We have reported previously here at The ToolPost on some of the wonderful work of Blind Veterans UK, the charity that assists vision-impaired former Armed Forces and National Service personnel with free support and services to enable them to regain their independence and lead fulfilling lives.

Now, we are delighted to have reason to do so again, thanks to a resident of Shoreham in West Sussex who has shown that even those lacking the gift of sight can still practise the rewarding craft of woodturning 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.


Editor's Note: The ToolPost ( is represented by the search engine advertising and digital marketing specialists Jumping Spider Media. Please direct all press queries to Louise Byrne. Email: or call: +44 (0)20 3070 1959 / +34 952 783 637.

1997-2010 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley.  Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice