Rent a manor and give sight to 300 Burmese ex-soldiers

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A WOMAN is renting out her manor to tourists during the Olympic Games to help fund eye surgery for 300 blind Burmese ex-soldiers.

Sherry Scott MBE, of Tyringham Hall, Cuddington, will be travelling to Burma alongside a German surgeon to give back sight to hundreds of soldiers who fought under her late husband Lieutenant-Colonel Ray Scott in the Second World War.

Mrs Scott, vice chairman of The Burma Forces Welfare Association and the representative for the British Commonwealth, said she will need to raise around £20,000 for the project.

And to help raise funds for the project, Mrs Scott will be renting out her medieval home, complete with a tennis court, a swimming pool and an acre of land which boasts various gardens, such as a vegetable allotment.

“Imagine being able to get your sight back – some of these soldiers have been blind for years,” she said.

“So many of them have said to me all they want is to be able to see their grandchildren.

“There are around 300 ex-soldiers we plan to treat and, while we cannot be certain we can help all of them, the surgeon carrying out the procedures has said she believes many of them will have cataracts – as a result of the strong sunlight over there.”

Mrs Scott will be travelling over to Burma during the Olympics with surgeon Therese Worstmann, in memory of Mrs Scott’s late husband who supported the soldiers for many years until his death in 2002.

“On the morning of Ray’s funeral, the British Embassy in Burma flew the flag at half mast and crowds of soldiers gathered outside with flags and rags at half mast on poles,” added Mrs Scott.

“But at the time, under the dictatorship, anyone who gathered in groups could have been shot – so the British Ambassador called me.

“He said ‘I’m sorry to bother you on the morning of your husband’s funeral, but these soldiers are gathering saying the only man who ever helped them has died – I’m afraid there’s going to be an incident’. So I agreed to take over from Ray, and continue his work.

“When Ray came back from Burma he told me these soldiers were the reason he survived. Many soldiers had a very traumatic time during the war, and Ray said if we had no foreign holidays and didn’t eat out, we could afford to help them.

“This new project is very exciting, but it is going to take an awful lot of work to get going.”

Mrs Scott hopes to raise £17,000 by renting out her home for the month, while she will be in Burma helping to treat the men.

The project’s total estimated cost of £20,000 is for the travel and accommodation for the soldiers, who mostly live in the mountains to the north of Burma, to Rangoon in the south. The surgery must also be prepared, and medication gathered before operations can take place.