Blind veterans lead cycle ride to Paris for military charity
A team of 44 riders led by three blind veterans will be cycling from Brighton to Paris next week (12/05) to raise money in aid of Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
The blind veterans taking part will all be cycling on tandem bikes with staff from the charity and one serving Staff Sergeant and have been training hard for the four day challenge.
One of the veterans taking part is Mark Threadgold. Mark, 48 and from Saltdean joined the Army in 1984. He was a Sergeant in the Royal Corps of Signals and worked as an electronics engineer. Mark served in various locations around the world including, England, Cyprus, and Northern Ireland. Following a tragic accident in 1999, Mark lost his sight completely and had to leave his career in the Army.
Since that time, and for more than 15 years Mark has been receiving free, ongoing support from Blind Veterans UK. The charity has supplied him the technology and training that has enabled him to live independently again with sight loss.
"Blind Veterans UK has helped me enormously. Ultimately, the technology and training the charity has provided has given me the confidence to live my life, which is priceless."
Speaking about taking on the cycling challenge Mark says: "I had to get over the fear of getting on a tandem to enable me to complete the London Triathlon last year. I found I really enjoyed tandem riding and I am honored that I have been given the chance to be part of this event.
"I'm really looking forward to taking on a challenge that, just a few years ago, I didn't think I would be able to do. I'm fully prepared for saddle soreness and possible bad weather but I'm sure it will be a great experience and we can hopefully raise as much money as possible."
You can sponsor the team of blind veterans taking on the Brighton to Paris cycling challenge at justgiving.com/cyclebeyondteam.
Mark will be cycling with Blind Veterans UK Rehabilitation and Training Support Supervisor Craig Brindley.
Craig says: "Mark and the other guys have been training really well for this. You have to have a lot of trust riding a tandem and I'm looking forward to the whole challenge."
The cyclists will be setting off from the Blind Veterans UK Brighton centre in the early hours of Thursday 12 May in time to catch a 07:45 ferry from Newhaven.
The group will be gathering at Newhaven Fort, thanks to the generosity of Wave Leisure, for a send-off attended by the Mayors of Newhaven, Peacehaven and Telscomb.
Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 and the charity's initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in the First World War. But the organisation has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning the Second World War to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.
For more than a century, the charity has been providing vital free training, rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to blind and vision-impaired veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.
Visit blindveterans.org.uk/support to learn more about the charity and how you can support its vital work today.