Blind ex-soldier from Liverpool to take on Great North Run for Blind Veterans UK

19 June 2014 11:35

A blind ex-soldier from Liverpool is set to tackle one of the world’s most iconic runs in aid of Blind Veterans UK.

34-year-old Joe Cousineau will run the Bupa Great North Run, a 13 mile course between Newcastle and South Shields, for Blind Veterans UK, on Sunday 7 September.

Joe served in the 1st Battalion of the Kings Regiment from 1997 to 2002, before being medically discharged after a road traffic accident that robbed him of his sight.

Joe says: "I'm very proud of my time in the Army. It was incredibly rewarding in a way that you can't get outside the Forces - there's just nothing out there that compares to the feeling that you're serving Queen and country.

"After my accident, though, I lost two things that were important to me - my sight and my military career."

Since his accident, Joe has received free and comprehensive support from Blind Veterans UK, which has helped him regain his independence. He says: "The beauty of Blind Veterans UK is that I've regained a family after losing the one I had in the Army.

"I'm so grateful for what Blind Veterans UK has enabled me to do. They've helped me with my education, allowing me to get one-to-one Spanish tuition, introduced me to other blind veterans in the same situation as me and allowed me to do things I'd never imagined possible - everything from blind skiing to the Royal Marines Commando assault course challenge."

Now, having raised £4,000 for Blind Veterans UK after completing a tandem skydive and running the London Marathon earlier this year, Joe is set to run from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields to raise money for the charity. A fitness fanatic, Joe is a former athlete for the Liverpool Farriers and was named 'Fittest in the Platoon' during his training for the Army.

He says: "The Bupa Great North Run was something I'd always wanted to do - it's become a really iconic route and there's this great atmosphere, with people cheering you and your charity on."

Blind Veterans UK still has a number of guaranteed places left on the Great North Run available and is looking for keen runners hoping to take part in the iconic event for charity.

Victoria Marshall, Events Officer at Blind Veterans UK, said: "We'd like to hear from anyone who is still hoping to get a place on the Great North Run - or anyone who has a ballot place for the race but hasn't yet chosen a charity. We offer our team of runners lots of support and assistance plus the knowledge that the money they raise will make a real difference to the lives of blind ex Service men and women."

The Bupa Great North Run kicks off on Sunday 7 September and is one of the world's biggest half marathons. Running from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields, the event is broadcast live on the BBC and has seen members of the public run aside some of the biggest names in athletics, including Paula Radcliffe.

To sponsor Joe's Great North Run, please visit his just giving page. To find out more about fundraising for Blind Veterans UK, please visit our events calendar to find out about events happening near you.