In the 1920s, football was very popular among blind veterans. We even played against Arsenal!
During First World War, social and sporting activities were hugely important to blind veterans while undergoing rehabilitation at St Dunstans Lodge in Regent's Park. They enjoyed dancing, rowing on the lake and even football! They played the game similarly to a penalty shoot out, with a sighted goalkeeper clapping his hands to indicate his position.
We had early support from Arsenal football club; they played a charity match against Aston Villa to raise money for veterans blinded in the First World War. In November 1920, Arsenal goalkeeper Ernest Williamson came to play with our blind footballers. By this time we had instituted a regular knockout football competition, the Sir Arthur Pearson Challenge Cup (named after our founder and modelled on the FA Cup!) This was the beginning of a close friendship between Williamson and Blind Veterans UK. He was a serviceman himself, in the Royal Army Service Corps.
The entire Arsenal team also came to play some of the blind veteran footballers, once on 14th December 1920 and once on 22nd February 1921. (The Arsenal players were blindfolded!)
As well as playing football with the blind veterans at St Dunstans Lodge, Williamson also assisted our Chairman at the time Ian Fraser in presenting trophies for winners of the Sir Arthur Pearson Challenge Cup.
In 2013 our Llandudno centre was offically opened with a special ceremony and commemorative monolith in the centre's grounds.
7th May 2015 was the 100th anniversary of the torpedoing of the RMS Lusitania. The attack on this ship was integral to the events of the First World War, and one passenger's involvement plays an important role in the history of Blind Veterans UK.
As we commemorate the forming of the Home Guard 75 years ago, we look at how Blind Veterans UK also carried on at home
The dramatic society kept our veterans in good spirits during WWII when the charity had moved to Church Stretton in Shropshire for safety.
Blind Veterans UK Badges through the ages
An embroided Grand Altar frontal made by injured soldiers during World War One, currently on display at St Paul's Cathedral.
In 1916, we had our own mascot in the form of St Dunstan, the goat.
The revolutionary Kurzweil machine has a history entwined with our own