Blind Belper veteran seeks volunteer to help with archery training

Charity Blind Veterans UK is seeking a volunteer 'spotter' to help Belper resident David Greenwood practise his newfound hobby of archery.
Charity Blind Veterans UK is seeking a volunteer 'spotter' to help Belper resident David Greenwood practise his newfound hobby of archery.

A blind Army veteran from Belper is seeking an archery spotter to help keep him on target with his new hobby.

David Greenwood, 72, was first introduced to archery, during a session at Broomfield College in Ilkeston, organised by the charity Blind Veterans UK.

Due to the nature of the sport and David’s sight loss, he needs a spotter to support him during his sessions.

He said: “I absolutely loved the archery, it’s really fun with a competitive edge and I’d love to be able to do this regularly.

“There aren’t actually that many adaptations to make archery accessible, there’s a magnifier on the bow. The role of the spotter is to describe where my arrow is pointing so that I can aim at the target.”

He added: “Don’t worry, there’s no chance of you getting shot by the arrows. The centre in Belper is great at making sure that sessions are safe for everyone involved.”

Blind Veterans UK volunteer coordinator Hannah Vickers said: “If you have some time on your hands and are looking to do some volunteering this is a great opportunity.

“You don’t need previous archery experience, training will be given. It’s a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.”

David joined the Royal Corps for Transport in 1965 and went on to an international career in civil engineering.

A freak accident while working on site in Kenya almost 30 years ago left him with no vision in his left eye and only pin-hole vision in his right eye.

He said: “I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. As an engineer, it was a hazard of the job.

“An unsecured jack on a drilling rig smacked me in the side of the head. I was flat out in a bush hospital for five weeks while they drained a blood clot in my brain.”

He started receiving support Blind Veterans UK in 2005 and says: “It has been one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, they’ve been such a wonderful support.”

“When you lose your sight, you also lose your confidence. I was in a black hole and the charity helped me out of it.”

He added: “They helped me to be independent again. Even simple things you take for granted like cooking, washing and ironing for myself.”

David is still proudly independent, describing himself as a “very young 72 year old”. He can often be seen around Belper with guide dog Lincoln.

David said: “I have Lincoln with me wherever I go so the volunteer must like dogs.”

For more information, write to hannah.vickers@blindveterans.org.uk