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Guest post by Tony Rogers, Blind Veterans UK fundraiser

Date
10 October 2013 14:45

Tony Rogers writes about walking 27 miles blindfolded for Blind Veterans UK.

Tony Rogers will soon be completing a 27 mile blindfolded walk in support of Blind Veterans UK.  Below he shares his thoughts on why he and his friends are doing this, and what it means to them to support Blind Veterans UK.

From all at Blind Veterans UK, thank you Tony!

My name is Tony Rogers. I'm a retired British soldier and the 1874 Northwich FC voluntary Community Projects Coordinator.

My military infantry background consists of 22 years service with the 1st Battalion the 22nd Cheshire Regiment and, on amalgamation, the 1st Battalion Mercian (Cheshire) Regiment.

I spend most of my spare time in retirement working in a voluntary role on behalf of my local football club, 1874 Northwich FC.

Following the formation of 1874 Northwich FC on 15 November 2012, it was quickly realised that what had been missing for so long was community involvement.

And so the club formed the 1874 Northwich FC Community Projects Team.

One of our roles is charity fundraising for local, regional and national civilian and military charities.

Our next charity event is the most ambitious yet and will be held on the 19th October 2013 at Marbury Country Park in Northwich, when 1874 Northwich FC fans and soldiers from the 4th Battalion the Mercian Regiment will attempt to walk 27 miles blindfolded.

Why 27 miles? Because it's more than a marathon!

The event will sponsor three challenges, each one demanding a different level of fitness and ability. Our aim to complete 18 laps of a 1.5mile circuit blindfolded with sighted guides with the objective of raising awareness and funds for Blind Veterans UK and 'Guide Dogs.

We chose Blind Veterans UK because of my connections with the military and their outstanding service, support and care for ex-servicemen and women blinded in action and also the amazing support they give to our service veterans. We chose Guide Dogs as a charity partner in the same way to reflect the connections and relationships between Military and Civilian organisations and how they collaborate to achieve shared goals.

In particular our main objective is to highlight the difficulties blind and partially sighted people undertake on a daily basis and the only way to achieve that aim is to push ourselves beyond our limits.

We expect the challenge to be physically demanding, mentally challenging and emotionally draining with over 10 hours of blind walking. Plenty of time to reflect on the gift of sight that so many of us take for granted. The only difference for us is that at the end of the event we can take our blindfolds off.

We have already started preparing for the trek by publishing an individual training programme, detailing suggested activities to toughen feet, increase endurance and stamina.

A detailed 30 page Event Management Plan has been produced to ensure the event runs as smoothly as possible. The British Army adage (the 7 Ps) was my inspiration: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents a Piss Poor Performance.

We have recently undertaken 'Sighted Guide Training', awareness and fan interaction, instructed by Gaynor Monaghan and Beth Pennell from Guide Dogs.

Our main event sponsors are Northwich based businesses, Panad Site Services, Cappers, Peter Morgan, Greens, Michael Cooper, U Lock It, Cheshire Sheds and Northwich Woodlands with many other local businesses in support of our cause.

Our charity website can be found at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/1874northwichfcprojects

The amazing support we've received so far has been FANtastic, our target figure of £1,000 was reached a few weeks back and we still have some fundraising ideas to push that figure higher. If we can get it within £1,700 we've been promised a donation to take the total to the iconic £1,874.

Our football club also officially sponsor Ciaran's Cause and regular collections for this amazing charity take place on a regular basis.