EastEnders star Dame Barbara Windsor joins blind Romford veteran at Christmas lunch
PUBLISHED: 13:00 15 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:45 15 December 2016
A blind veteran joined EastEnders favourite Dame Barbara Windsor on Monday, to mark the publication of research into war hero’s social isolation.
Frank Harrop, a 90-year-old blind veteran from Romford attended the prestigious event held at the Blind Veterans UK’s charity head quarters in Marylebone.
The charity’s research found that 61 per cent of older veterans had become increasingly isolated following a diagnosis of sight loss.
Dame Barbara said: “No one who has served our country should have to battle sight loss alone, and no one should feel isolated or lonely as a consequence of sight loss.”
After receiving the charity’s support, 86pc of respondents said that it had helped them to feel less isolated.
Frank said: “I had such a great time, it was a wonderful day. Good food and great company, it’s definitely put me in the Christmas spirit.”
Mr Harrop joined the Royal Navy in October 1944.
He trained in gunnery and went on to become an air traffic controller, serving ashore at various air stations in the UK.
His final draft was to RAF Culham before being discharged as an acting able seaman in January 1948.
The charity estimates that there are 1,300 blind veterans living in the Essex area.
A spokeswoman said: “They area eligible to access specialist support from the charity but most are unaware of it.”
Dame Barbara urged people to get in touch.
“I want to make sure that Blind Veterans UK are reaching as many veterans as possible,” she continued.
The charity holds many free social events. For more information visit blindveterans.org.uk