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Blind ex-servicemen get behind the wheel again on north Norfolk visit

PUBLISHED: 17:29 02 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:29 02 November 2018

Eight visually-impaired ex-servicemen visited a former training camp at Weybourne with the charity Blind Veterans UK. Photo: Blind Veterans UK

Eight visually-impaired ex-servicemen visited a former training camp at Weybourne with the charity Blind Veterans UK. Photo: Blind Veterans UK

Archant

A group of East Anglian veterans had the chance to get behind the wheels of a tank in north Norfolk.

The eight visually-impaired ex-servicemen visited a former training camp at Weybourne with the charity Blind Veterans UK.

And during their visit to the Muckleburgh Collection, one former gunner even got to drive the tank through the grounds of the former Royal Artillery Anti-Aircraft camp, where the collection is housed.

Roan Webb, from Ipswich, who drove the tank, said: “It was absolutely fantastic.

“It took a little bit of time to remember how to use the controls but it came back pretty quickly and was absolutely exhilarating.”

Mr Webb, 49, joined the Royal Artillery in 1986. He was stationed in Germany for four years until he was discharged as a Gunner in 1990 due to sight loss, caused by Retinitis Pigmentosa.

He added: “I haven’t yet lost all of my sight, so I try to do as much as I possibly can while I still have the sight that I do today.”

The group of veterans were from across East Anglia including Fakenham, Peterborough, Cromer, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

During the visit they boarded the 432 self-propelled armoured personnel carrier.

Peter Price, from Peterborough, is one of the blind veterans who took part in the day.

He said: “My father was a tank commander during the Second World War.

“He said he always had his head stuck out of the top and I wanted to see how that felt.

“It was absolutely tremendous, but, then again, no one was shooting at me.”

The Muckleburgh Collection was started in 1988 by Sir Michael Savory and his late father, Squadron Leader Berry Savory, who served in the RAF.

Most of its range of tanks and armoured cars are in working condition, and exhibits include artillery, guns and missiles.

Sir Savory said: “Blind Veterans UK is a fantastic cause and we were pleased to be a part of this amazing event.

“It was brilliant to see the smiles on the chaps’ faces as they took a ride down memory lane.”

The charity was founded in 1915 to support soldiers blinded in the First World War, and has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, from the Second World War to conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.

The visit to the collection took place on October 17.

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