War-time pilot to share stories with Alnwick sight loss group

A World War Two RAF pilot is to share his wartime experiences with an Alnwick telephone support group

By Ian Smith
Thursday, 7th October 2021, 10:34 am
World War Two RAF pilot Harry Garthwaite is speaking to members of Alnwick Macular Society.
World War Two RAF pilot Harry Garthwaite is speaking to members of Alnwick Macular Society.

Harry Garthwaite, who now lives in Newcastle and celebrated his 101st birthday in June, clocked up almost 2,500 flying hours, flew 23 different aircraft types including the Hurricane, the Spitfire and an abandoned German trainer, and was mentioned in dispatches.

Although his flying days ended in February 1946 when he was demobbed, Harry remains an aircraft enthusiast and a keen member of his local RAF Association.

Harry is affected by dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a sight loss condition that affects his central vision. AMD is a form of macular disease, the UK’s biggest cause of sight loss.

Harry Garthwaite, 1940 Bristol Blenheim.

The Macular Society, a leading sight loss charity which funds medical research to beat macular disease, suspended all face-to-face support services when coronavirus first struck last year.

Since then it has provided a range of telephone and online support services, all of which are available to anyone affected by sight loss, their family or friends.

Harry will be speaking to the Alnwick Macular Society telephone support group at their next call on Monday, October 11 at 11am.

Jo Reader, regional manager for the charity, said: “We are delighted to welcome Harry as a guest speaker to our group call. I have absolutely no doubt that he will be very popular and we very much look forward to hearing his stories.”

Harry Garthwaite.

Jo added: “Whilst the majority of social restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic have eased, people’s health and wellbeing remain our priority. However, it’s absolutely vital that everyone who needs our support continues to receive it - we are still on the end of the phone and would strongly urge anyone to call us if they do need our assistance.

“The telephone groups offer help in understanding macular disease and coming to terms with sight loss; exactly the way that our face-to-face support groups do. They also help us to ensure that everyone is kept up to date with all the current news and information. But most importantly, they allow people with macular disease to continue to take part in social activities, helping to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.”

To join the call, or for more information, contact Jo on 01757 428744 or email [email protected]

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