A blind veteran from Derbyshire was part of the England team who took home the trophy at the Pétanque Home Nations Championship in Cardiff recently.
Brian Eldridge, 72 and from Chesterfield, took part in the championship alongside his wife Margaret who have both been playing the sport for 25 years.
Brian says: “I am very proud to have been part of the England team and of course to have won the trophy. I only have 4% central vision but Pétanque is a very inclusive sport and anyone can play”.
Brian joined the Royal Army Veterinary Corps in 1966, serving in Europe, the Far East and the Middle East before being discharged in 1975. When Brian lost his sight, he began receiving support from Blind Veterans UK, a national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women. The couple moved to Chesterfield to be closer to the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Llandudno. Brian says: “When we moved to the area we started up our own Pétanque club with the help of our local council. I have played in competitions all over Europe including in Denmark and Poland this year”.
A sport like Pétanque is perfect for Brian and has allowed him to continue his love of sport after his sight loss. His wife Margaret explains: “It’s ideal for Brian to play Pétanque because unlike other sports like tennis, he can home in on a target. He also loves the camaraderie especially after being in service and of course, it’s a great way to keep fit because it involves a lot of walking”.
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.