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Blind veteran looking forward to celebrating Valentine's Day with new wife after pair find love thanks to this military charity

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Monday, 5th February 2018

Blind veteran looking forward to celebrating Valentine's Day with new wife after pair find love thanks to this military charity

Written by ##author:samanthalade## for DonateToday

PUBLISHED: ##published## | UPDATED: ##updated##

A blind veteran from the West Midlands says he cannot wait to spend February 14th with his new wife Valerie, who he fell in love with after a chance meeting thanks to a national military charity. 

79-year-old Gordon Timmins from Sandwell was taking a ceramics course at the Blind Veterans UK rehabilitation centre in Llandudno when he first met wife-to-be Valerie Timmins, aged 76.

The pair dated for a year before Gordon decided to pop the question to Valerie – which led to a Sandwell wedding before friends and family in November of 2017. 

Gordon has since moved to Pwllheli, north-west Wales to live with Valerie.

The couple met when Valerie accompanied a friend – a blind veteran – to the centre, and struck up a conversation with Gordon in the communal lounge.

Recalling their first meeting, Gordon says: ‘I came into the lounge one evening and the only free seat just happened to be next to Valerie. We hit it off straight away and were roaring with laughter for the entire evening. 

‘Since then we’ve barely spent any time apart.’

After a career spent serving in both the Army and civilian Fire Services from 1956 onwards, Gordon went on to lose his sight in later life due to age-related macular degeneration. 

Sadly, he was widowed in 2014, which meant Gordon was left to battle sight loss alone.

‘It was a really difficult time,’ explains Gordon. ‘When I lost my sight, I lost a lot of my confidence and my independence too. I honestly thought my life had ended.’

But since being signposted towards the free, lifelong support of Blind Veterans UK in 2015, Gordon says his life has been ‘completely turned around’.

"There are over 5,300 ex-Service men and women in the West Midlands battling severe sight loss who could unknowingly be eligible for our support."

- Blind Veterans UK

The charity – who've helped blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women since 1915 – were able to provide Gordon with special equipment to help him adapt to his sight loss, as well as inviting him along to several activity weeks at the charity’s Llandudno centre. 

Here, Gordon was also able to enjoy the companionship of fellow blind veterans at social events organised by the charity.

‘I’m confident in myself again,’ he says, speaking of what the charity has done for his self-esteem. ‘I’ve met so many new friends and to top it off now I’ve found Valerie. I’m over the moon.’

Gordon now also volunteers for Blind Veterans UK, making appearances at sight loss exhibitions to help raise awareness of the charity. ‘The charity have supported me so well that it’s wonderful to be able to give something back.

‘Having Valerie by my side makes it even better,’ finishes the newlywed veteran. ‘We’re looking forward to Valentine’s Day, and to all our future adventures.’