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Signed address from Helen Keller

A signed address by Helen Keller from the World Conference on Work for the Blind. This address was given to Ian Fraser, our chairman at the time who was in attendance at the conference. 

Helen Keller was a trustee of the Blind Relief War Fund, which greatly benefitted Blind Veterans UK in our early years.

Helen Keller was also a trustee of the Blind Relief War Fund, which greatly supported Blind Veterans UK in our early years. The Blind Relief War Fund was founded on 11th November 1915 by wine merchant George Kessler and his wife Cora. After George escaped alive from the Torpedoing of the RMS Lusitania, he vowed he would dedicate his life to help veterans. While recovering in hospital, George met our founder Sir Arthur Pearson and was inspired to help the blinded men of WWI.

They left the European arm of the fund to be run from a head office in Paris and returned to America to continue their work supporting blinded war veterans. In America they met deaf blind author and activist Helen Keller. She gave her full support to the fund, becoming one of the founding trustees.

Helen Keller was very well known, not only in the blind community but also globally. She was regarded as a highly remarkable woman, overcoming both deafness and blindness to go on to have a very sucessful career as an author.

As a friend of Sir Arthur Pearson, she visited our centre in Regent's Park and in 1918, she wrote a letter to the men of Blind Veterans UK (then St Dunstan's) at Regent's Park and it was published in The Review:

"Will you give the blinded soldiers and sailors a message from me. At first they will find it hard, very hard, to readjust their lives. Some of them will stand before the closed gates of vision with angry rebellious hearts. Others will mope and fret and feel that the burden laid upon them is too great for their strength. To them I speak of the fullness of my own experience. Wait a little, dear boys, - in time you will feel as much at home in the dark as you ever did in the light. Blindness has halted you by the way. Make most of the delay, think, look about you and you will find many things you have never noticed before. You will discover unsuspected beauties by the wayside, bright little surprises, unexpected tenderness and campionship."

Below, Helen Keller and Ian Fraser: