83 year old blind veteran
from Merseyside to have paintings included in St George's Hall art exhibition
A blind veteran from Merseyside who has
discovered a love for art since losing his sight has attended the opening of a
special art exhibition that features his work.
Don Mulryan, 83 and from Wirral, is exhibiting his work along with other blind
veterans at the:- 'Art – Life Beyond Sight Loss' exhibition which opened
its doors to the public, on Saturday, 14 January 2017.
The exhibition explores the role of art and craft in assisting blind and
vision impaired veterans overcome the barriers and challenges of sight loss.
Held at St George's Hall, it includes paintings, wood work and ceramics produced
by a number of blind veterans who have been trained in new techniques after
visiting the charity's training and rehabilitation centres.
Don was born in Liverpool and began his military career as a National Serviceman
in 1952 when he enlisted with The Green Howards. He was then transferred to
Royal Army Ordinance Corps and served with them until 1954. He later joined the
Intelligence Corps TA until he was discharged as a Sergeant in 1958.
After his service he initially returned to his previous career in banking, but
at the age of just 33 his sight began to fade as a result of Macular Dystrophy,
a rare genetic eye disorder that causes loss of vision.
Don continued in banking until his sight deteriorated to the point where he was
no longer able to read documents. He then qualified and worked as a Technical
Officer for the blind, working as a contractor for many agencies including
Bradbury Fields and the National Federation for the Blind.
It wasn't until 2013 that Don became aware that Blind Veterans UK supported
veterans who had lost their sight after completing their Service like himself.
He says:- "I'd heard of St Dunstan's, which is what Blind Veterans UK used
to be called, but had no idea they now supported people like me. I was chatting
to a man at Henshaws Society for the Blind and he told me I had to get in touch
with them. I'm so glad he did."
Don attended an Introductory Week at the charity's Training and Rehabilitation
Centre, in Llandudno to find out more about the support the charity could offer.
He says:- "We tried out all sorts of things that first week and it was
absolutely brilliant. I learnt that, in addition to getting training in things
such as IT, we could also receive support in developing interests. So I went
back to Llandudno to try my hand at a week of painting. I cannot tell you
how happy the painting course has made me. I have always wanted to have a go but
never had a chance before my sight condition developed; but now with the help of
Blind Veterans UK I have created paintings which have received favourable
comments from all those who have seen them. Abstract painting is perfect
for me as there is no need to focus on detail. The Art and Craft instructors
taught me a blowing technique which has been perfect. Using a brush can be
tricky as my sight condition makes it difficult for me to perceive depth,
meaning I don't always know when the brush has met the canvas. Although I have
now received a special magnifier which allows me to add in more details when I
Since the charity's founding in 1915, Blind Veterans UK has considered the study
of art and craft skills to be an important element of rehabilitation for the
blind veterans it supports. This exhibition:- 'Art – Life Beyond Sight
will exploring the impact of arts and crafts on the lives of blind veterans and
illustrate how the military charity has enabled many of its beneficiaries to
build confidence, self belief and independence.
The exhibition is open to the public, until 29 January 2017, excluding Monday's
and Tuesday's; and will be open from 10:00 to 16:00. Admission is priced at £3
per adult, £1.50 per child with reduced rates available for groups and schools.
Many of the items displayed in the exhibition will be up for auction, including
a collection of signed portraits of celebrities such as Steven Gerrard, Joanna
Lumley, Andy Murray, Lorraine Kelly and many more. Visit:-
for more information and to bid on the auction.
Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 and the charity's initial purpose was to
help and support soldiers blinded in World War I. But the organisation has gone
on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning World
War II to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.
For more than a century, the charity has been providing vital free training,
rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to blind and vision impaired
veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.
Fake millionaire ordered to repay £20k
A Widnes fraudster, who was branded as
"Walter Mitty" was attempting to steal £2 million in false VAT
repayment claims, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). We are told
that Anthony Knowles, 58, was found in Court to have been pretending to be a
sheik backed multimillionaire, trading in horse medicines. He has been ordered
to pay back £20,000, within 3 months or serve a further 9 months in jail, after
being jailed for 4 years.
Zoe Ellerbeck, Assistant Director, Fraud
Investigation Service, HMRC, said:- "Knowles provided dozens of fake
documents in his attempt to convince HMRC, and others, that he was genuinely the
head of a multimillion pound empire. All this was based on Walter Mitty style
grandiose lies, fraud, and theft from the public purse. His real living
circumstances laid bare his lies. We are now recovering the stolen money for
Knowles pretended to trade in equine medicine for racehorses, move in rich
circles and claimed to have a £25 million bank balance. In reality he lived in a
2 bedroom Council house and was unemployed.
As part of his scam, he attempted to buy a Cheshire mansion and farm, and
received quotes for building a huge oak framed extension to include stables,
groom quarters and garages. HMRC discovered he had sent 1 estate agent an email,
claiming he had £12 million in funds available to purchase new property.
HMRC investigators told the court of luxury spending by Knowles on a £4,000
weekend stay at Claridges and the purchase of luxury goods from Hermes. He had
also falsely claimed to HMRC officers that his business was being financially
supported by a sheik; who was never traced. Despite Knowles claiming he had no
assets, HMRC identified almost £20,000 in tainted gifts he gave family members
and he was ordered to repay these within 3 months or serve a further 9 months in jail.
Store owner fined for severe
food safety breaches
THE owner of a food store has been
fined more than £11,000 after pleading guilty to nine food safety breaches.
Mr Shafeq Nasser Al-Suraimi, who runs Green Mountain Food Store, on Lodge Lane,
which operates as a shop and Halal butchers, was fined a total of £3,600, made
to pay £7,617.34 in costs to the council and a £40 victim surcharge.
The Magistrates Court was told that, on 4 November 2015, Environmental Health
Officers from Liverpool City Council carried out an unannounced routine
inspection and found:-
► Mouse droppings in the meat display fridge, in the butchery department, on a
counter, on shelves, in between the floor and the skirting boards and in a
walk in fridge.
► Large holes in the fridge were found, which were thought to be
access points for pests
► Equipment used to butcher meat was dirty.
► Blood was found on the door handle of the
walk in fridge.
► Floor and wall coverings were in a poor
► Rodent smear marks were observed on skirting
► Evidence throughout the shop and the butchers
which indicated a lack of any effective cleaning .
The findings resulted in the immediate closure
of the premises, with the agreement and co-operation of the manager, due to the
imminent risks to public health.
9 days later, on 12 November 2017, officers returned to the premises for a follow up
inspection and found them in the same poor condition, no cleaning had been
undertaken and pest infestation remained obvious. There was also evidence that
despite the closure, meat was still being prepared in the butchers. Green
Mountain Food Store was formally closed, on 19 November 2015.
The investigation found a report from a pest control company dating back just 1
month earlier, in October 2015, advising the owner of an urgent need for a
deep clean of the premises, pest proofing, stock control and daily checks for
pest sightings. During that company's visit to the food store they had caught 6
mice on glue pads and 15 bait boxes had been eaten. On a previous visit the
company had found a rat along with a number of mice in the cellar.
Following the 2nd closure a full refurbishment took place and the
environmental health team revisited the location again, on 12 April 2016, where
officers were satisfied there was no longer a risk to the public.
Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said:- "This is
a shocking example of a severe breach of food safety standards which could have
resulted in customers being very ill. We will not tolerate food businesses
operating in this manner and the seriousness of this charge is reflected in the
considerable fine levelled at the owner. Our environmental health team do
incredible work across the city so that residents and visitors can, rightly so,
expect the highest possible standards when they visit any food outlet."
French Honour for British
6 war veterans are set to receive the
highest decoration from the French Government; the National Order of the Legion
of Honour. The award is being presented to the Liverpool men for their bravery
and role in liberating France in 1944. The medals have been distributed via the
French Embassy in London, and will be presented by Honorary Consul of France, Mr
Philip Daniel, on behalf of the President of the Republic of France.
Receiving the award will be:-
► Capt. Tim Fitzgerald, 3rd Battalion, The Irish
► Kingsman Bernard Cross, 5th Battalion, The Liverpool
► Rifleman Desmond James Ryan, 2nd Battalion, The
Royal Ulster Rifles.
► Pte Michael Crumby, 8th Irish Battalion, The
Liverpool King's Regiment.
► Gunner Richard Stanley Hughes, Royal Regiment of
► Leading Aircraftman Stephen Conyngham, Royal Air
If you do not know, the National Order of the Legion of Honour (in French: Ordre
national de la Légion d'honneur), is a French order established by Napoleon
Bonaparte on 19 May 1802. The Order is the highest decoration in France and is
divided into 5 degrees of increasing distinction:- Chevalier (Knight), Officier
(Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and
Grand'Croix (Grand Cross).