Blind Sidmouth veteran knits flag for charity

Nancy Bowstead with Dan Skinner from the security staff at the BVUK centre in Brighton

Nancy Bowstead with Dan Skinner from the security staff at the BVUK centre in Brighton - Credit: Archant

A 92-year-old blind veteran who lives in Sidmouth is determined to help her comrades any way she can – and even managed to knit a flag for them.

Proud ex-servicewoman Nancy Bowstead spent eight months knitting and purling the enormous crafty creation to mark the 75th anniversary of Blind Veterans UK (BVUK).

She has pledged to attend remembrance days as long as she lives – she is aiming to reach 100-years-old – and is looking ahead to Sunday’s service.

Brass band lover Nancy said: “I will keep on attending remembrance parades while there is breath in my body.”

She defied her farmer father to enlist in the Auxiliary Territorial Service for World War Two, and has been a keen supporter of the Royal British Legion ever since. When peace came she married, had two children and worked as a domestic science teacher until 1978, when she told her husband, Derek, that she would like to retire.

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And when she was diagnosed with glaucoma and lost sight in one eye, she was thankful for the doors serving her country opened. Derek died last year, but BVUK has given her the determination to carry on.

“If it hadn’t been for the war I would still have lost my sight, but I wouldn’t have been a member of blind veterans,” said the Byeside Road resident.

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So she decided to repay the charity – which offers its members respite in its Brighton hotel free of charge on their first visit – by knitting 600g of red, white and blue wool into a flag that turned out too large to fly, and is now a wall hanging.

The grandmother is registered blind, but said her tunnel vision gives her the focus she needs to spot stitches when knitting. She has also taken up painting – her favourite subject is, of course, the poppy – and one of her works is on display in the remembrance display at Fields.

? See photos of the remembrance parade in next week’s Herald.

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