Belfast Telegraph

Documentary reunites charity founder with stepson of army major who gave him first braille watch

Charity founder Richard Moore has been reunited with the stepson of an army major who gave him his first braille watch.

The pair were brought together following an appearance by Richard Moore in a BBC documentary by Patrick Kielty, in which the comedian looked at the murder of his father and the situation in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement.

After seeing the documentary, Richard was contacted by Ricky, the stepson of Major Rowland Bowen - the man who gave him his first braille watch. 

Ricky said after watching the documentary, he wanted to know if it was the same Richard his stepfather had been in contact with in the 1970s.

"We were just curious, was it that boy or was it not. We thought the chances were very high that it was him. It was easy enough to trace him because he talked about his charity Children in Crossfire," he said.

Richard said he was first contacted by Major Bowen after being shot in 1972.

"If you take the background of the 1970s, my uncle Gerard was shot dead by a soldier on Bloody Sunday. Less than three months later I was blinded by the British Army," he said.

"And the conflict was going on, I lived in the nationalist Creggan estate in Derry. The conflict was going on outside the door. And my mother and father were open with everything that happen.

And this lovely, compassionate, caring letter arrived in from a man who was an army major. And it was in complete contrast to our experience of the British Army. My mammy and daddy loved to see the letters coming, and then the next thing the braille watch arrived. Richard Moore

"It means so much, it meant so much. That kindness and generosity. He didn’t have to do anything really," he added.

Richard and Ricky said on the programme they would keep in touch.

Richard Moore is the founder of Derry-based charity Children in Crossfire which raises money for projects in the UK, Ireland, Tanzania and Ethiophia. He was blinded by a rubber bullet as a 10-year-old in 1972, and later participated in a documentary in which he tracked down the soldier who had shot him and forgave him.  

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