Sight Scotland Veterans will mark this year’s Remembrance Day with a streamed online service on Wednesday November 11.
Remembrance Day has traditionally seen many veterans with sight loss, supported by the charity Sight Scotland Veterans, come together as a community at the charity's activity hubs – the Linburn Centre in Wilkieston, West Lothian and the Hawkhead Centre in Paisley, Renfrewshire – for annual remembrance services.
But with government pandemic restrictions prohibiting group gatherings and both centres closed in line with pandemic guidelines, this year Sight Scotland Veterans will instead reach out to its community remotely with a prerecorded remembrance service that veterans, partners and friends of the charity will be able to watch at home.
Led by Reverend Ian Wells of Ratho Parish Church, there will be prerecorded readings, tributes and music from Sight Scotland Veterans centre staff and outreach workers based at home across the country.
The prerecorded Sight Scotland Veterans remembrance service will stream on Sight Scotland Veterans’ Facebook page on Wednesday November 11, from 10.55am.
In a year which has also marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day, the Linburn Centre, which was established by Sight Scotland Veterans – previously known as Scottish War Blinded – during World War Two, has been closed since March 2020 when the Scottish Government’s pandemic guidelines came into force.
Ever since, the dedicated Linburn Centre and Hawkhead Centre staff and their Sight Scotland Veterans colleagues based across the country have adapted to continue supporting veterans with sight loss remotely through telephone calls and email.
Jim Thomson, Linburn Centre Manager, said: “This time of year is hugely important to the armed forces community, and we know many of the veterans we support will have wished to have been with us in person for the annual remembrance service to remember the fallen.
“We sadly cannot all be together in person just now, but we hope that the prerecorded service we will show on the Sight Scotland Veterans Facebook page will allow people to feel that we are still joining together virtually as a community to remember those who gave so much in service of their country.
“We are extremely proud of Sight Scotland Veterans’ history of support for veterans with sight loss. The Linburn Centre was established in World War Two to support those who were blinded in service, and over the years our services have grown across Scotland to now support all veterans with sight loss, no matter the cause or when it occurred.
“We know many veterans we support are greatly missing the activities, friendships and camaraderie they enjoy so much when they attend Linburn Centre. We all look forward to the day when we will be able to welcome people back to the centre. For now, we continue to be there for them remotely in any way we can.”