A DALGETY BAY World War Two veteran with sight loss has reconnected with his Royal Navy heritage thanks to a charity.

Jim Thompson, 95, has the eye condition, age-related macular degeneration, which has left him struggling to read.

But thanks to a specialist video magnifier from charity Scottish War Blinded, he has been able to keep in touch with his past.

Jim served in Gibraltar working on the signalling tower and then in contraband control with the Royal Navy Patrol Service for two-and-a-half years.

He then undertook minesweeping duties in the Bristol and English channels until he was demobbed in 1946.

The father-of-two has always kept in touch with his Navy roots but was frustrated to find his sight condition was making it difficult to read his monthly Navy News magazine.

But since becoming a member of Scottish War Blinded last year, Jim has been receiving expert support from the charity’s rehabilitation team.

Now kitted out with an Optelec Traveller HD video magnifier – a portable, lightweight device that can zoom in on text and change colour contrast to suit reader requirements – Jim is delighted to be enjoying his Navy memorabilia once more.

He said: “I have a black spot in the centre of my eye that I can’t see with but I can get a picture in my peripheral vision. In my right eye, I have cataracts.

“I get the Navy News magazine which I like reading; I like keeping up to date with what’s going on. But I was trying to use a handheld magnifier to read it and I was struggling for ages until it ended up tiring my eyes.

“Now that I’ve got the Traveller with the stand, I can read it again. The magnifier’s perfect for me, I’m enjoying it. It’s been a lifesaver. I get a lot of letters so it helps me to read those too.”

“Scottish War Blinded have also set me up with the Freedom LED lamp, I think it’s brilliant and also gave me suitable anti-glare glasses as well to help when the sun is out.

"Equipment can be quite expensive but there’s Scottish War Blinded helping me with it for free.

“I hope my sight doesn’t get worse but I know Scottish War Blinded will have things to help me if it does."

Jim hopes getting to grips with new specialist equipment will also help him to carry on engaging with some of his other interests, such as natural history.

As well as expert advice from Scottish War Blinded’s rehabilitation team, the charity’s free support also means that he has support from one of its two outreach workers for Fife.

The veteran also enjoyed a reunion lunch at the Balbirnie House Hotel, Markinch, for the charity’s Fife-based veterans with sight loss last year.

Scottish War Blinded gives free support to former servicemen and women of all ages, no matter if they lost their sight during, or after, service.

Visit www.scottishwarblinded.org or call 0800 035 6409 to refer a veteran to the charity.