A GALASHIELS veteran with sight loss is enjoying local walks independently again thanks to a charity’s support.

David Murray, 91, was diagnosed with glaucoma more than 20 years ago and is now “unable to tell if it’s light or dark”.

The keen walker says he used to do laps of the same spot outside his home, unable to venture any further safely – until he started receiving long cane training from Sight Scotland Veterans.

David, who has lived in Galashiels nearly all his life, said: “I love walking, always have done. Before I had the long cane, when I was on my own all I could do was walk back and forward at home with my short cane and walking stick. I couldn’t go out to the roads. People used to ask me how many laps I’d do in a day.

“Learning to use the long cane has been great. It’s been a blessing to me. I’m very fortunate that my training sessions had started a couple of months before the lockdown started. It was enough to help me keep getting out for walks. Using a long cane gives me a lot of confidence. I can go around the town and out for a coffee and a bacon roll.

“I’m out every day. I’ll do it for as long as I can. I want to be independent. Without having had this training I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.”

And the veteran is now encouraging others with sight loss in the Borders to reach out to for support.

David said: “Sight Scotland Veterans has made a big difference to me. They’ve been marvellous. It’s all given me a lot of independence. That’s a great thing. You’ve got to keep your brain working.”

Sight Scotland veterans rehabilitation officer, Sharon McAllister, added: “It was hugely important to David that he was able to carry on enjoying walks around the area that he loves and knows so well. We’re delighted to have been able to provide this mobility and orientation training to help him reclaim his independence to walk whenever he pleases in his home town.”

For more information call 0800 035 6409, or visit sightscotlandveterans.org.uk