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Army Reservists and football team walk 27-miles blindfolded for charity

Date
14 November 2013 11:15

Soldiers and local football fans joined forces to raise money for Blind Veterans UK and Guide Dogs.

Army Reservists from 4th Battalion the Mercian Regiment D Company supported local football fans from 1874 Northwich Football Club by taking part in a 27-mile blindfolded charitable walk in aid of Blind Veterans UK and Guide Dogs. The challenge took place on 19 October 2013 and raised a fantastic £1,874.
It all started with a phone call from Tony Rogers (1874 Northwich FC's community project leader) to Lieutenant Matt Styles from Mercian Regiment D Company. Tony is a former sergeant with the 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment and so it seemed a natural collaboration.  Lieutenant Styles approached the regiment and found Private David Brinton and Bob Needham willing to embark on the challenge.
It all started with a phone call from Tony Rogers (1874 Northwich FC's community project leader) to Lieutenant Matt Styles from Mercian Regiment D Company. Tony is a former sergeant with the 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment and so it seemed a natural collaboration.  Lieutenant Styles approached the regiment and found Private David Brinton and Bob Needham willing to embark on the challenge.
When Lieutenant Styles and his partner Lizzi embarked on the last four laps, they felt they had got into a nice pace but the British weather had other ideas and torrential rain threatened to dampen their spirits:
 
"That moment in the Command Point was the closest I came to taking my blindfold off, absolutely soaking wet and wanting to reassure Lizzi that it was fine if she couldn't do it anymore. However like any good soldier is taught, Private Brinton came to the rescue almost immediately, "Sir, Do you want sugar in your brew?" a phrase that any person who has served knows lifts your spirit. It was after that cup of tea and the arrival of gortex from my day sack that Lizzi told me we were going back out again. I knew she wanted to achieve it I think more than I."

As Lieutenant Styles completed the challenge, the enormity of what Tony had achieved with just a kettle, a group of dedicated physiotherapists, some shelter and a lot of his own time really hit home. His hard work not only raised money but also awareness for what it is like to live with blindness every day. Margaret Nixon also took part and described her experience:
 
"For me, the hardest part was when we stopped and I knew I was in a group of people, but not who was around me or whether anyone would respond if I spoke. The inability to make eye contact really hampered my desire to communicate. If I take nothing else from this experience, I think understanding that feeling of remoteness and isolation will stick with me."
 
A huge thank you to Tony for organising such an amazing day and the event physiotherapists for their outstanding voluntary service: Fiona Notman, Emma Gwynne and Simon Henderson, Physios from South Cheshire College and Chris Wood from Your Sports Therapist Northwich.
 
Are you looking for a challenge? Blind Veterans UK want people to join them on their 100k London to Brighton 24 hour walk. If you would like to organise your own challenge then we have loads of ideas here.

Blind Veterans UK has launched its No One Alone campaign which aims to reach out to the estimated 68,000 plus blind veterans who are eligible for the charity's services but are not currently aware of this. If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces - did National Service perhaps, and are now battling severe sight problems - request free support from Blind Veterans UK.