Blind veteran from Bedford returns to The Cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday march

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He will be joining over 40 other blind veterans

A blind veteran from Bedford is set to march at The Cenotaph this Remembrance Sunday.

Mike Warren, 68, will be joining more than 40 other blind veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK in London.

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Blind veteran Mike Warren ready to march at The CenotaphBlind veteran Mike Warren ready to march at The Cenotaph
Blind veteran Mike Warren ready to march at The Cenotaph

Mike joined the Royal Marines in 1971, having wanted to be a Royal Marines Bandsman since the age of five.

He joined the band at 16 years old and served for eight years before leaving the Royal Marines in 1979.

He said: "One of the highlights for me was playing in the band for the independence celebrations of the Seychelle Islands. We flew over on one of the first ever jumbo jets to land on the Seychelles, with the royal family in the front. We were there for a week doing celebrations, watching the Union flag go down and the Seychelles flag go up.”

Mike lost his sight much later in life due to macular degeneration. Fortunately, he found out about Blind Veterans UK and started receiving support from the charity in 2019.

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Mike in the Seychelles in 1976Mike in the Seychelles in 1976
Mike in the Seychelles in 1976

He said: “My sight has gradually declined over the years since I was diagnosed. You start off thinking ‘this will be OK’ but gradually it affects your day-to-day living and you have to adapt. I have lost my central vision, so reading and facial recognition is impossible.

“I had always been a musician so when I suddenly couldn’t read and play music anymore, I felt a real sense of bereavement and lost all my confidence. Sight loss had taken one of the most important things away from me. But with time I discovered the software and technology which meant I could continue to play and record. It takes me longer now but I can still learn and play new songs on the keyboard.”

And through the support of Blind Veterans UK, he’ll again be marching at The Cenotaph after first taking part in 2021.

Mike said: “As you walk out on to Whitehall and sense the size of the crowd and hear the cheering, it’s really quite overwhelming. I’ll be remembering my grandad who served in the Battle of the Somme and a friend who was killed by an IRA bomb, as well as all those who never made it back from the battlefield.”