A BLIND Hampshire veteran is hoping to land a $25,000 prize to launch her baking project globally.

Penny Melville-Brown OBE, from Fareham, has been invited to compete in the inaugural Holman Prize as a result of the online profile she has built.

The Catisfield Road resident runs a YouTube channel called Baking Blind, which documents her cooking and shows that blindness is not the “end of the world”.

If she lands the prize, Penny intends to travel around the world and document her cooking adventures.

She hopes the videos will change attitudes towards people with visual impairment.

Penny said: “If I win, I am going to be able to travel around the world with a videographer so that I can cook with anyone else, whether they are blind or sighted.

“I will learn from them and be able to capture all of those adventures and share them on social media in the hope that lots more people better understand that being blind is not the end of the world."

Penny boasts a distinguished military background, having served for 22 years in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) and Royal Navy.

During her career, she also took up a post as a naval barrister - the first woman to hold such a position.

As the WRNS was merged into the Royal Navy, Penny was appointed Lieutenant Commander with gold stripes.

However, it was at this point that her eyesight began to deteriorate, and she was medically discharged as a war pensioner in February 1999.

Penny went on to set up Disability Dynamics, a specialist organisation focused on helping disabled people back to work, before being awarded an OBE in 2009 for her services to disabled and other disadvantaged people.

She faces competition from almost 200 others for the Holman Prize, which is being awarded by the San Francisco ‘Lighthouse’, the largest blindness organisation serving Northern California.

The prize commemorates James Holman, who also became blind while serving in the Royal Navy in the early 19th century.

Each nominee was initially required to upload a 90-second YouTube video, and if she is selected, Penny will be asked to put forward a detailed plan and budget in the next stage.

You can support Penny by liking her entry video on her Baking Blind account.

First round voting closes on March 15.