Blind veteran inspires London cyclist to take on 100 mile challenge for "amazing charity"

1 July 2014 14:33

A keen cyclist from London has challenged herself to bike 100 miles in under six and a half hours to raise money for vision impaired ex-Service men and women – after being inspired by a family member.

Annie Cooke, 49, from Battersea in London, is taking part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 cycle race on 10 August 2014. Annie is raising funds for Blind Veterans UK after being inspired by her partner's father Graham Richards, who is a blind veteran supported by the charity.

Graham, 78, lives in Grayshot, near Hindhead in Surrey and did National Service with the Royal Armoured Corps from 1954 to 1956. He lost his sight 15 years ago due to age-related macular degeneration and has received support from Blind Veterans UK for the past six years.

Annie has witnessed first-hand the difference this support has made to Graham's life. She says: "With support from Blind Veterans UK, Graham has participated in many activities he thought wouldn't be possible. His sight loss doesn't prevent him from living life to the full, whether that's regaining his wood turning skills, doing cookery courses or attending one of the charity's summer camps where he tried canoeing, archery and basketball. He even steered a high speed inshore lifeboat - with assistance, though!

"Graham is a true inspiration to me, and I've seen how support from Blind Veterans UK can turn someone's life around. That's why I've chosen to raise as much as I can to help this amazing charity, and hope that by trying to complete the race within six and a half hours, I will inspire people to donate generously!"

Graham says: "Blind Veterans UK has helped me, and many others, regain our confidence and achieve independent living. Its assistance is immediate, relevant and ongoing. I, like many others, am proud and grateful to be a beneficiary of the charity."

Annie, who is originally from New Zealand, took up cycling four years ago and has been training regularly for the race. Last year she completed the event in 6 hours 50 minutes and has been working hard to cut 20 minutes off her time this year.

If you secured a place through the ballot, Blind Veterans UK would love you to join their team and raise funds for them. All cyclists receive a free exclusive Blind Veterans UK cycling jersey to wear during the ride. Please visit our event page to find out more.