A veteran with sight loss supported by Sight Scotland Veterans is set to take part in the 2022 Veteran Games in Tel Aviv, Israel this month.
Tony Mulheron, 53, of Glasgow is looking forward to taking on new challenges at the event which brings together wounded and sick British and Israeli veterans to compete in various sports from 29 May to 3 June.
Tony has no peripheral vision resulting from a brain injury which occurred around 20 years ago. He is also living with Parkinson’s disease.
The Royal Army Ordnance Corps veteran was delighted to be nominated for the Veteran Games experience by staff at Sight Scotland Veterans’ Hawkhead Centre in Paisley, where he currently attends once a week.
Tony, who served from 1987 to 1991, said: “I feel immensely proud to be representing the country and Sight Scotland Veterans at this year’s Veteran Games.
“I do like to take myself out of my comfort zone. I think that’s important. I like to challenge myself and do things I wouldn’t normally do. Israel has always been a bucket list destination for me too, so I’m very happy to have this opportunity to go there.
“I’m really looking forward to visiting the cultural sights in Tel Aviv and meeting new people at the event. I’m also looking forward to the sports activities, with some nervous anticipation.
“I think the Veteran Games’ aims of bringing veterans together and healing are to be commended. Sport is a common language across the world.”
Tony has been receiving support from Sight Scotland Veterans for the last 15 years. He says the charity’s help and community has been “transformative” for him and a huge boost for his mental health.
Tony said: “Sight Scotland Veterans is quite literally a lifesaver. I feel my life would be in a darker place without the charity.
“Before I was put in touch with the charity, I was very much feeling isolated socially. But it’s got me out and about and meeting more people in a similar situation – having not only our service background but also sight loss in common.
“Now I’m getting out to the Hawkhead Centre once a week. I get loads out of spending time with the veterans at the centre. It’s a tonic. The fact I’m out of the house, even just one day a week, it’s enough for my mental health. It’s just a great, welcoming place to be. Almost like family. I’ve been training in the centre’s gym."
And Tony says having the chance to take part in new experiences with Sight Scotland Veterans over the years has given him the confidence to keep taking on new sporting challenges.
Tony said: “Previously I’ve been exposed to rock climbing through the charity which was never something that was on my radar to do. But I loved it. It was amazing.
“Their support has absolutely given me confidence to keep pushing. I can see now I can do it.”