WELL, it made a change from the Lord Mayor...
A bomb disposal robot was the VIP with a difference to unveil a new beginning for the St Dunstan’s rehabilitation and training centre for blind ex-servicemen and women in Sheffield.
The charity, which has its city base on Fulwood Road, Broomhill, now has a change of name.
From now on it will be known as Blind Veterans UK - a name organisers hope will help to spread the message about the vital services the charity provides.
Centre of attention was a bomb disposal robot visiting Sheffield from the Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.
The robot, also known as the wheelbarrow, was operated by members of the 521 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron.
Captain Peter Graham, who helped the robot to draw back the blue velvet curtain and reveal the new sign, said: “Blind Veterans UK is a charity held in high regard by our squadron, as two of our soldiers were caught in IED blasts in Afghanistan.
“One lost his right eye and the other suffered reduced eyesight to his right eye. Blind Veterans UK will assist them, and other serving and ex members of the forces, for the rest of their lives if they require it.”
Although Sheffield’s is the smallest of the charity’s three centres - the others are in Brighton and Llandudno - it helps hundreds of ex-servicemen and women each year to improve their IT, communications, mobility and independent living skills.
Andrew Jones, Blind Veterans UK’s director of fundraising, said: “Being the only charity in the UK for blind veterans, the new brand reflects much better what we do.
“It puts us in a better position to achieve our vision that no one who has served our country should have to battle blindness alone.
“The name Blind Veterans UK will allow us to raise awareness among the public about the life-changing services we provide to blind and vision impaired veterans.”
Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 as St Dunstan’s. Anybody who is blind or has severely impaired vision and has served in the Armed Forces is eligible for its specialist support - even if they served many years ago.
The charity believes there are over 50,000 people who could still benefit from its support.