A 100-year-old World War Two veteran with sight loss is enjoying being more independent and reading again with the help of a Smart Reader audio scanner.

Bea McMurray, of Port Seton, has sight loss due to age-related macular degeneration – a condition which causes gradual deterioration of central vision.

Her vision loss means she now struggles to read, and she was greatly missing being able to read from her Bible.

But with the specialist support of the charity Sight Scotland Veterans, Bea is now able to listen along to Bible passages and letters thanks to a Smart Reader HD OCR – a device which scans text and reads it out loud within seconds.

The former tailor and child carer, who served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) during World War Two, can now also enjoy messages in her birthday cards with the machine, including her 100th birthday card from the Queen. 

Bea said: “This machine is wonderful. I can’t read anything with my eyesight now so to have something like this is great. It gives me some independence back and I do like having it. Sight Scotland Veterans do a lot for veterans like me. It’s wonderful to have their help.” 

Bea has been supported by Sight Scotland Veterans since 2018. The charity’s expert rehabilitation team have worked closely with Bea to identify the most suitable specialist equipment to help her keep independent with her sight loss. 

Sight Scotland Veterans Rehabilitation Officer, Sharon McAllister, travels across Scotland to provide in-person assessments, training and support to veterans with sight loss.  

Sight Scotland Veterans Rehabilitation Officer, Sharon McAllister, said: “At Sight Scotland Veterans, we are able to work together with veterans with sight loss we support to establish the tasks they are finding challenging due to sight loss, and determine the best ways we can help them to carry on with the things they enjoy as independently as possible. 

“It’s fantastic to know that Bea is getting along well with using the Smart Reader HD OCR in daily life. We have also worked with Bea’s befriender, Ruth, who is also on hand to support Bea with the smart reader if and when required.”   

Find out more about how Sight Scotland Veterans support veterans with sight loss to live independently.

WWII veteran Bea McMurray listens to reading of 100th birthday card from Queen with Smart Reader audio scanner