On Saturday 30 March 2019 people across the country stepped out to show their support for Blind Veterans UK by taking part in our #MarchForVeterans 10 mile walks. The walks, held in Brighton, Llandudno, London, Somerset and at the National Memorial Arboretum, took place as part of March Is For Veterans; a month dedicated to bringing our supporters together.
Below we share some of the highlights of the day. Thank you to everyone who took part, donated or came along to show their support to our walkers. We couldn't have done it without you!
Keen walkers and supporters of all ages and fitness levels took on the 10 mile challenge in Llandudno and tackled the tough but scenic terrain North Wales has to offer.
One of those participants was Mark who along with 6 friends completed the 10 mile walk blind folded marching forward, each one with a hand on the shoulder of the comrade in front. The striking image was inspired by the statue of blinded First World War Soldiers that now stands outside Manchester Piccadilly station.
Regional fundraiser, Victoria Beech said: “It’s been a fantastic day with support from so many people. It is heart-warming to see a community come together like this to support a service that is making a real difference to so many right on our doorsteps. Thank you everyone – and we look forward to seeing you again next year!”
“I'll definitely be back again next year! If anyone out there thinks they can't do it - trust me - they can! It’s been a great day for a great cause.”Mark
With 90 supporters gathered together and the sun shining at the Blind Veterans UK rehabilitation centre in Brighton, the energy and enthusiasm at the start line was infectious. The walkers set off west along the seafront, with superstar eight-year-old fundraiser Seb Skinner leading the way. Seb, who has raised over £600 for the charity, was just one of the many young supporters which included local cadet groups and families. Walking alongside them were a contingent of our blind veterans.
On the finish line back at the centre, each and every walker received a huge cheer and medal, with a special celebration reserved for Jane, who completed the walk in a Panda suit and supported her great uncle Reg, a blind veteran, to take part in the first few miles. Reg was there to welcome her back at the centre chapel where supporters gathered for a post-walk ‘Meet Up Brew Up’.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was worth the blisters. I’m not a runner, a walker or anything but the end result was easier than I thought it would be. We were very lucky with the weather - it was a lovely day.”Keith, blind veteran
It was a misty but fun walk in Martock. There were 12 walkers in total (including staff and family support) and we had two volunteers, Jenny (ROVI for C8) and Guy, who were with us at the start/end point and met us half way at the top of Ham Hill. We also had Webster the guide dog, who enjoyed a refreshing muddy dip in the brook on the way back!
We had a good age range within the group of walkers, from a toddler (Tricia’s grandson) all the way up to blind veteran Hayden, who is in his 70s, and is a former Army Warrant Officer.
Between Hayden and his wife, Jen, they have raised over £700 as part of March for Veterans! Before the walk, Hayden said “I’ve not walked 10 miles for years, but I am hoping it will prove a comfortable distance for me.” He certainly seemed comfortable, even over the mostly uneven ground of the fields.
The National Memorial Arboretum
Supporters took to the ground of the National Memorial Arboretum to take on their 10 mile challenge.
Community Support Worker, Chris, not only completed the 10 mile walk but throughout March has taken part in the virtual challenge too - amassing a staggering 132 miles!
She was joined on the walk by Dr Dashan Seehra, an Army Reservist from Whittington Barracks, who undertook the walk with 15kg of weight on his back to simulate the Army fitness test.
Amidst the skateboarders, roller-bladers and happy picnic makers emerged a new sight at Hyde Park on Saturday.
A small army of people wearing vivid blue Blind Veterans UK t-shirts determined to get fit, lose a few pounds or honour an ex serving loved one; made light work of the scenic 10-mile March For Veterans trek. June from London said; “My father decided he’d move to St Dunstans, Blind Veterans as it’s called now, after his wife – my mother died. And it’s gone really well. I’m sure if it hadn’t been for Blind Veterans my dad wouldn’t be here today. It’s given him a new lease of life and that’s why I’ve done the walk.”