I can’t …

Many of us have read motivational books and listened to inspirational speeches, but nothing compares, for me at least, to the workshop my friend Barry and I ran at the Blind Veterans UK Centre in Llandudno from 7th – 9th August 2013.

If an 86 year old blind veteran can learn to tie decorative knots, how on earth can I possibly dismiss any of my ambitions with the words “I can’t”?

John and dragonfly

John, totally blind, was a very determined chap with real energy, and he started by learning to tie a decorative dragonfly.

During his visit to the Centre with his wife, Daphne, it was Daphne’s birthday, so John decided to make her a dragonfly brooch out of ribbon, which Daphne proudly wore for the rest of the week.


Along with a light pull for the bathroom, on the final day John made a lanyard for his identity badge.

John was one of many remarkable people Barry and I met during our three days in Llandudno. Members and staff alike at the Blind Veterans Centre proved incredibly inspirational.

The staff smiled all the time and could not do enough for the members or each other – it is obviously a real team effort there.

Another member, Mark, was there for the week too with his wife Anita and their young son Sam. Although Mark was generally busy with computer courses, Sam and Anita joined us for part of the workshop. I think Sam is probably setting up business as I write, making dragonflies and bracelets! In fact, I know that Sam got his first commission on Friday night. By the way, Mark, who suffers significant sight loss, can touch type 40 words a minute (which is considerably more than I can, and I’ve been using computers for over 35 years).

My special thanks to Nadia and Maryam, who run the Arts and Crafts Department in Llandudno – they were extremely supportive and didn’t complain once about the mess Barry and I created!

The next time I find myself struggling with something new, I’ll think about the wonderfully resourceful and determined people I met at the Blind Veterans UK Centre in Llandudno, get myself motivated and pull my finger out!

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