Blind Army veteran joins Remembrance Sunday march

A former soldier who lost his sight while serving for his country will march alongside more than 40 other blind veterans to remember the nation's war dead.

Private Ken Facal, who served in the British Army's 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, was injured in a blast in Afghanistan in 2010.

The 37-year-old from Newham, east London, will join the Remembrance Sunday parade at the Cenotaph in the capital.

Pte Facal said: "I want to pay my respects not only to the brothers I served with but also the soldiers who paved the way for us."

Pte Facal joined the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment in 2004 and completed his first tour in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2005.

He did two subsequent tours in Afghanistan but the second was cut short when he was seriously injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in January 2010.

Pte Facal woke up from a coma one month later.

He said: "I was glad to be alive but also apprehensive because I was also thinking how bad was it?

"I had lost the sight in my right eye and only had a little bit left in the other. My legs and stomach were also messed up and I had to have lots of operations."

He received support from the national charity Blind Veterans UK, which helped him to regain his independence, learn essential skills, and eventually become a personal trainer.

Pte Facal said seeing other veterans the charity had supported gave him "hope for the future".

He said taking part in the Remembrance Sunday commemorations was "always emotional".

"Remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefields from the First and Second World Wars, all the way to more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

"We lost a lot of good men in my battalion and I’ll be remembering all of them.”

All of the blind veterans taking part in the parade are supported by Blind Veterans UK.

The charity's chief executive Adrian Bell said he was "proud" to be marching alongside all of them at the Cenotaph.

"And I know there will be many more attending moving ceremonies in communities up and down the country," he added.

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