Defence doctors to complete three-day cycle across Wales for Blind Veterans UK
1 September 2014 17:01
A team of military medical personnel are set to tackle a three-day, 200-mile cycle challenge across Wales to raise money for blind military veterans.
The eight person team, which is comprised of Radiographers and Radiologists from the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham, will cycle the entire length of Wales to raise vital funds for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision impaired ex-Service men and women.
The cycle ride kicks off on September 30 and will see the team climb 6,000km over three days, as well as cycling through the Brecon Beacons and over Snowdonia.
The team, which has named itself Team X-Ray, includes two lieutenant colonels, two majors, and four non-commissioned personnel.
Flight Sergeant Chris Derbyshire, who devised the ride, said: "We're all military medics who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, so we've seen the effects injury can have on Services personnel.
"That includes the damage a blast injury can do to a Service man or woman's eyes, so we wanted to raise money for Blind Veterans UK to make sure that those who've served and lost their sight have the best support available."
Chris joined the RAF in 2002, after being inspired by his grandfather, who served with the Lancaster Bombers during World War II. Chris says: "My family has always been a huge supporter of the military and the RAF in particular since then, so it was a motivating choice."
The team's cycle will take them from RAF St Athan, near Barry, to Blind Veterans UK's North Wales centre in Llandudno. Chris says: "I grew up near Llandudno, so I knew the building, which has now become the Blind Veterans UK centre, in the days when it was a hospital.
"My father suffers from glaucoma and was treated in the previous building, so I was really interested to find out how the charity transformed the building into a modern training and rehabilitation centre to support ex-Service men and women with sight loss - whether it be from conditions like glaucoma or through injury.
"I was really impressed by Blind Veterans UK and their work. When I told my colleagues about my idea to cycle Wales to raise money for the charity, they got on board straight away."
To support the team's fundraising, please visit www.justgiving.com/teamxray2014. For more information about how we support blind veterans please visit the "How We Help" page of our website.