A woman who served her country during World War II has praised a military charity.

Blind ex-service woman Chrissy Viles, of Lepton, was “thrilled” to be able to celebrate Christmas amongst friends, thanks to a national military charity.

Mrs Viles, 91, spent the festive season at Blind Veterans UK’s Llandudno centre for the first time this year and said she felt “on top of the world”.

Mrs Viles joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service during the Second World War after her husband was posted to Burma. She served for over three years as an officer’s steward, stationed around the UK.

She said: “When my husband went to Burma, I wanted to do my bit in the war effort so I joined up. I enjoyed my time in service as it gave me the opportunity to do something new and serve my country.”

While Mrs Viles says that her eyesight has never been perfect, her sight has deteriorated rapidly over the last four years as a result of age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.

As her sight deteriorated, a neighbour recommended that she got in touch with Blind Veterans UK to request their free, lifelong support to help her adjust to life with sight loss. She said: “I’ve always been very independent and have never liked to ask for help, but at Blind Veterans UK, we’re all in the same boat, you feel on a level footing with everyone and it’s wonderful.”

Blind veteran Chrissy Viles
 

Since getting in touch with Blind Veterans UK in 2009, Mrs Viles has received specialist equipment, training and emotional support to help her live independently at home, as well as making new friends through her visits to the charity’s centres in Llandudno and Sheffield.

“Meeting the other veterans has helped me in so many ways, especially in helping to rebuild my confidence.

“I really enjoy the arts and crafts they have at the centres and I love the mosaics. Last year, I decorated a photo frame for my granddaughter which I gave to her as a Christmas present – she really liked it.

“I can’t praise Blind Veterans UK enough – the support they’ve given me has just been brilliant and I know that if I’m going to one of the centres, I’ll always be surrounded by friends and people that care.

“I always feel on top of the world when I come home from being at the centres – it’s the camaraderie of the veterans that is just wonderful, and the atmosphere at Christmas was as fantastic as ever!”