84-year-old blind veteran to skydive from 12,000 feet

An 84-year-old blind veteran from Brighton is set to skydive in order to raise funds for the military charity that has supported him since he lost his sight.

Peter Burbery, from Portslade, will be jumping out of an aeroplane at 12,000 feet alongside his granddaughter and son-in-law next Thursday.

Peter said:

“I’m not scared, but I’m certainly apprehensive. I haven’t been in an aeroplane since 1963 let alone jumped out of one so it’s definitely going to be an experience.

“My family have seen first-hand the amazing impact that Blind Veterans UK have had on my life, so they’re always finding excuses to try new adventures and fundraise at the same time. Somehow they’ve managed to rope me in for this one!”

Peter completed his national service in the Army’s Royal Sussex Regiment between 1954 and 1956 as Batman for WWI and WWII General Sir Lashmer Gordon Whistler.

It was later in life at the age of 48 that Peter was diagnosed with glaucoma and macular degeneration with his sight deteriorating ever since. He now describes his sight as ‘minute’, with the ability to recognise basic shapes when they are held very close to his face.

On his sight-loss, Peter said:

“At first I was completely fed up. I’d been an Upholsterer and a keen cyclist my whole life and suddenly that was all over. I didn’t know what to do with myself.

“Luckily I found out about Blind Veterans UK through a friend, who has not only got me back using my hands in their arts and crafts department but also got me back on a bike doing things like 24 hour tandem challenges!

“When I first visited the Brighton rehabilitation centre I was overwhelmed at the support that was available. I was trained up on equipment like magnifiers which meant that I could use my limited sight to read the post, magazines and generally stay independent.

“All in all they’ve been nothing short of incredible and have genuinely given me a new lease of life.”

Peter and his family will be skydiving on March 5 at Headcorn Aerodrome in Kent, with all money raised going to Blind Veterans UK. If you’d like to support Peter please visit his Just Giving page here.

Blind Veterans UK helps vision-impaired ex-Service men and women of every generation rebuild their lives after sight loss. Since 1915, the charity has provided rehabilitation, training, practical advice and emotional support to tens of thousands of blind veterans.

Blind Veterans UK currently supports more blind veterans than ever before in the charity’s history, but it knows there are many more who still need its support to rebuild their lives following their sight loss. The charity has a dedicated community team in Sussex who provide support including training, equipment and social events for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women in the local area.