Action man blind veteran supports new research findings

1 May 2015 13:00

Blind Navy veteran Alan Lock has given his support to new research released today by Blind Veterans UK, indicating that 60% of the UK public are confident that blind and vision impaired people can lead full and active lives.

Alan, who has taken on some of the world's hardest sporting events since losing his sight in 2005, has said he is "very pleased" with the results of the survey.

Alan Lock said: "From my own experiences, I know that blindness is not something that should been viewed as a barrier to being able to achieve the things you want to and I'm very pleased that the public's views reflect this."

Navy veteran Alan lost his sight in 2005 after being diagnosed with a rare form of macular degeneration. Despite this, Alan has completed the Marathon des Sables and became the first vision impaired person to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and row across the Atlantic.

Over the next couple of years, he plans to challenge himself further by participating in an Iron Man triathlon challenge, run the London Marathon and attempt to swim across the English Channel for the second time.

Alan joined the Royal Navy in 2002 and served as an Officer for almost three years, but his military career was cut short when he started to lose his sight.

Alan said: "In 2004, I noticed a change in my sight - it gradually got worse and worse. I've always been active and enjoyed sports like running, swimming and football, but all of a sudden I felt like I couldn't do these anymore, it was very frustrating."

Alan began receiving support from national charity Blind Veterans UK, which has helped him to adjust to life with sight loss and meet other vision impaired veterans in a similar situation.

Alan said: "Meeting the other veterans and hearing about some of their remarkable achievements gave me such a confidence boost and really spurred me on. I'd already signed up to the Marathon des Sables before losing my sight and after hearing what some of the other veterans has go on to do, I decided I would still give it a go."

After completing the 151-mile long Marathon des Sables - billed as the toughest footrace on earth - Alan has gone on to become the first vision impaired person to row across the Atlantic and to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole. Last year, he also attempted to swim the English Channel, but the attempt had to be called off just miles from the end due to bad weather. 

Alan said: "Losing my sight was one of the worst things I could imagine happening to me, but by completing these challenges, I've proved to myself that I'm still able to do things I want.

"As I've gone on to do more physical challenges, my confidence has continued to grow. Over the next couple of years I'm planning to run the London marathon for the 7th time, take part in an Iron Man event and I'm going to attempt the Channel again."

For 100 years, Blind Veterans UK has been providing vital emotional and practical support to vision impaired ex-Service men and women to help them discover a life beyond sight loss. This year, Blind Veterans UK is celebrating