Having served as a soldier for twenty years, Billy lost his sight, leading to the loss of his job, home and a life that he loved. St Dunstan’s – a charity that provides rehabilitation to ex-service men and women – inspired Billy to look to the future. He learned new skills and adapted existing ones as part of his rehabilitation and began sharing his experiences by encouraging others to accept their blindness and embrace life. In 2009, Billy enrolled on a National Diploma Performing Arts course at Cambridge Regional College to develop formal training in public speaking and performance, with the aim of being able once more to enjoy army life by entertaining the troops as a show host and stand-up comedian.
Billy has bravely entered education as a 45-yearold in a class of teenagers but consistently achieves high marks. “Money couldn’t buy what I’ve learned from coming here [college] – you couldn’t put a price on how valuable coming to college has been for me. My life – and that of my family – is so much richer for it,” he reflected.