Ray Hazan awarded 2016 Soldiering On Trustees Award

Ray Hazan, OBE, Past President of Seaford Rotary Club was awarded the 2016 Soldiering On Trustees Award, at the awards ceremony held at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, London on 22nd April.
Ray was attending the ceremony with his wife Robbie and his two sons Giles and Jonathon as he had been nominated for the Lifetime Achievement award.
Speaking before the awards ceremony, Ray, 71, said that ‘‘I had no idea that Blind Veterans UK had put my name forward for an award’’ and that ‘‘I was absolutely staggered and dumbstruck to learn that my nomination had been selected as a finalist for an award’’. He said that ‘‘I have had a lot of support from colleagues at Blind Veterans UK as well as from Rotary Clubs to enable me to carry out my roles and functions’’.
Ray said that ‘‘all winners had a video of their story which was shown on screen as they walked up to the stage, and as I had been videoed some month ago, I thought there was a 95% chance I had made it. When they called out the nominees (for the Lifetime Achievement Award), my name was there but when the winner was announced, my name was not. I really could not believe it – had they changed their minds’’.
The final award category, the Trustees Award when announced had the same reasoning as the Lifetime Achievement Award – for services to the blind community. Ray was the only nominee. This award was a complete shock to Ray. He had no idea that he was in line to receive this special award.
Ray said ‘‘I felt so happy when I was called up and invited to say a few words, I was truly blessed and so relieved from thinking I had let them (Blind Veterans UK) down to great joy’’.
Ray was led up on stage by his younger son, Dr Giles Hazan and accompanied by the Chairman, Tim Davis and the Chief Executive, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB, of Blind Veterans UK and two Trustees of Blind Veterans UK, Lady Victoria Walker and Mr Tim Bacon.
The Trustee’s award is awarded at the discretion of the Soldiering On Through Life Trust’s trustees to recognise a person whose efforts have had a significant impact on the UK’s Armed Forces Community. The award was presented to Ray by celebrity chef and patron of the Royal London Society for Blind People, Monica Galetti.
The citation with the award described Ray as ‘a blind veteran who epitomises the courage, commitment and resourcefulness of Blind Veterans UK, first as a client, then as a staff member and now as an ambassador and president’.
The aim of the Soldiering On Through Life Trust is to encourage support for the UK’s Armed Forces Community by nationally recognising the achievements of groups, individuals and organisations that support this community. The Trust holds the Soldiering On Awards annually.
Ray was on his second tour of duty with the Royal Anglian Regiment in Northern Ireland when in 1973 he was totally blinded, lost his right hand and suffered severe hearing loss in an IRA parcel bomb explosion.
He has been helped by Blind Veterans UK ever since. After a period of training at Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan's) Ray spent two years at the International School of Interpreting in Mons, Belgium. He was the subject of a BBC TV documentary in 1974, which followed his physical and emotional rehabilitation.
Ray joined the Blind Veterans UK staff in 1977 working in their headquarters in Marylebone, London. He retired in February 2011 as Members Services Manager and Editor of the monthly in-house journal, the Review magazine.
He was elected as a member of Blind Veterans UK Council in October 1998, and became President in October 2004, positions which he retains today. As President and council member he retains involvement in policy making, carries out talks to publicise the work of the charity, and is willing to accept cheques on its behalf!
He is also Vice-President of the International Congress of War Blind Organisations having also served terms with them as President.
He was awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours list in 2012 for his services to Blind Veterans UK and the blind community and is a Freeman of the City of London.
Ray has been a member of Rotary for over 20 years, first joining the Rotary Club London, the first Rotary Club outside the USA, and then the St. Marylebone club before joining Seaford Rotary Club following his retirement. He was President of Seaford Rotary Club in 2014-15.
Ray moved to Seaford in June 2011, although it was not the first time that he had lived in the town. Ironically he now lives about 100 yards from the location of the boarding school, Tyttenhanger Lodge school, that he attended whilst his family were in France due to his father’s work with NATO.

posted: Wednesday, 27 April 2016

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