Blind Chesterfield veteran to march at Cenotaph on Armistice centenary

A blind 71-year-old veteran from Chesterfield will march at the Cenotaph in London on the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Brian Eldridge and his wife Margaret will march alongside more than 100 blind veterans supported by the Blind Veterans UK charity on November 11.

Brian joined Blind Veterans UK in 2006 after being diagnosed five years earlier with retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited eye condition characterized by a loss of peripheral vision.

He said: “When I joined Blind Veterans UK, I got back that group camaraderie from all those years ago, you just connect differently with people in the forces; there’s this unspeakable bond and it’s something very special.”

This year is especially significant for Brian as it marks not only the centenary of the end of the First World War but his 50th wedding anniversary.

Brian and Margaret met while serving together at the Royal Army Veterinary Corps Dog Unit in Melton Mobray, Leicestershire.

Brian said: “The first time I saw her was January 6, 1967 at 4.30pm and there was just something about her, I remember saying ‘one day I’m gonna marry her’.”

Brian added: “When I’m marching I always think of my grandfather, who was a Lance Corporal with the Rifle Brigade. He returned from the war wounded in 1916; he’d been gassed. My father was born in 1922 and my grandad died shortly afterwards, due to his injuries from war.”