This is the story of Blind Veterans UK, formerly St Dunstan’s, an organisation that was founded during the First World War by Sir Arthur Pearson (who was himself blind) to bring hope and practical help to British and Allied servicemen blinded in the service of their country. The light that Pearson lit in 1915 spread quickly to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and India - wherever Pearson’s beloved St Dunstaners returned having ‘graduated’ from the mother organisation in Regent’s Park, London. Now, a hundred years since his pioneering achievement, thousands of veterans and their families from across the world are gratefully indebted to the extraordinary vision, determination, and compassion shown by the man affectionately known as ‘The Chief’.
Kindly Light: The Story of Blind Veterans UK recounts Pearson’s personal journey from his school years and early adulthood, where signs of his charitable nature first started to emerge with social projects, such as the Fresh Air Fund; through his sparkling career as a newspaper proprietor, founding publications such as Pearson’s Weekly and the Daily Express; to his complete loss of eyesight and subsequent ‘Victory over Blindness’, embodied by his establishment of St Dunstan’s Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors. For a century, St Dunstaners have built on this example and triumphed over blindness; their inspiring stories are retold here, alongside a history of the charity up to its centenary year, 2015. Just as its graduates have done, so St Dunstan’s has continued to overcome the challenges set before it and flourishes to this day under its new guise, Blind Veterans UK.
Andrew Norman was born in Newbury, Berkshire, in 1943. Having been educated in Zimbabwe and Oxford, he qualified in medicine at the Radcliffe Infirmary. From 1972 to 1983, Norman worked as a general practitioner in Dorset before a spinal injury cut short his medical career. He is now an established writer whose published works include biographies of Thomas Hardy, Adolf Hitler, Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Mugabe and Charles Darwin.
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Extent: 192 pages
Illustrations: 92 black-and-white photographs