Northamptonshire blind veteran takes on London Marathon for military charity

1 April 2015 11:36

A blind veteran from Northamptonshire is taking on the London Marathon this April for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

Steve Parnell, 47 and from Brackley, wants to give back to Blind Veterans UK for its continuing support and decided the best way to do this was by challenging himself whilst raising money for the charity.

Steve joined the Royal Air Force in 1986 and served until 1991. He worked as a steward in the Officer's Mess at RAF Brize Norton. While with the RAF Steve was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic disease that slowly causes blindness.

Steve says: "It was quite a shock when they told me because at the time there didn't seem to be anything wrong. I could still see and drive."

In 2006 Steve started to receive support from Blind Veterans UK after a local eye clinic made him aware of the charity.

Steve says: "I immensely appreciate the support from Blind Veterans UK. It came at a time I very much needed it and still do. They've given me computer training and gadgets I need for work but couldn't afford myself."

Now Steve is taking on the London Marathon with his guide David Babbister. David is a good friend of Steve's and has been his guide on multiple occasions, including several triathlons.

Steve says: "I've always wanted to take on the London Marathon and I decided to do it this year while I'm still fit enough. Due to injuries I don't have a specific time in mind, finishing the race will be a great achievement in itself."