Essex Firemen tackle 50k walk for military charity

1 April 2015 11:41

A group of firefighters from Wivenhoe working at the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service are taking on a 50k walk for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision impaired ex-Service men and women.

The group decided to tackle the Blind Veterans UK 50k London to Brighton challenge as they are all keen to push themselves and felt it was a good team building exercise.

Matt Baxter says: "The challenge of the walk is what got us interested, and then when we discovered the support Blind Veterans UK provides to vision impaired veterans, we were more than happy to help raise the much needed funds to carry on their great work."

Joe Nunn adds: "We wanted to do something for a military charity and to give back to those who need it most and Blind Veterans UK needs these vital funds to continue their great work."

Sam Ellis added: "My dad serves in the Royal Air Force so it's a pleasure to give something back to a military charity."

As fire fighters Sam, Joe, Gene, Alex and Matt protect their community, responding to emergency calls including fire, lift rescues, road traffic collisions and flooding but also go on fire safety visits.

Together they are now gearing up for the Blind Veterans 50k challenge. They recently went on a 44k training walk together as part of their training and discover just how challenging the event will be.

Alex Hough says: "Some of us found the training walk quite hard so that gave us a good indication of our fitness levels and the training left to do for the event."

Matt added: "I'm very excited and can't wait to be part of this great event! I'm sure we will be supporting everyone else around us on the day as much as we need others to support us."

Registration for the 100k, which will kick off in Putney on Saturday 6th June, is currently open with a registration fee of £50 per participant for the 50km or £75 for the 100km. Teams taking part in the relay have a registration fee of £120. The all-inclusive entrance fee for participants includes hot food at three rest stops, snacks and refreshments along the route and a free event t-shirt.

The event is Blind Veterans UK's biggest annual fundraiser and takes walkers from a starting point in south London, along the banks of the Thames, through countryside paths in Surrey, Sussex and the North and South Downs to the charity's centre in Ovingdean, Brighton.

Joe says: "I would encourage everyone to sign up. Yes, this is a daunting walk, but when you look at the reason why the walk is being done it's all in good deed and goes to a great cause."

Blind Veterans UK needs 500 people to take part in the 100k, which will help the charity to continue to provide a lifetime's practical and emotional support to over 4,000 veterans, regardless of when they served and how they lost their sight.

To find out more about Blind Veterans UK's 100k challenge, and to sign up for the event, visit

To support Matt, Joe, Sam and Alex as they tackle the Blind Veterans UK 50k London to Brighton challenge, please visit