Somerset blind veteran meets Mayor of London after English Channel splash and dash
3 October 2014 10:05
A blind ex-Serviceman from Clevedon attempted to swim the English Channel and then immediately dashed back to London to meet Boris Johnson as a representative of Blind Veterans UK.
34 year old Alan Lock served in the Royal Navy between 2002 and 2005, but had to leave due to his rapidly worsening eyesight. He says: "I realised something was wrong with my eyesight during my last posting. I saw a few doctors before being diagnosed with a form of macular degeneration. I knew that my sight wasn't going to get any better, so I had to leave the Navy. It was absolutely gutting."
At the age of 24, Alan started receiving support from the national military charity Blind Veterans UK, which offers free lifetime help for blind veterans to live independent lives, regardless of when or where they served, and irrespective of how they lost their sight.
Alan has gone on to have a successful career, including working for HSBC and BT. He has also completed several inspirational challenges, including running the six-day Marathon des Sables across the Sahara, becoming the first visually impaired person to row the Atlantic and the first visually impaired person to ski to the South Pole from the coast of Antarctica.
He attempted to swim the English Channel as part of a three-man relay team to raise money for Blind Veterans UK. He says "When my sight went, I found it really encouraging to hear about other blind veterans who've gone on to achieve amazing things. Over the last few years, I've been trying to complete challenges which are big enough to sink my teeth into - both for myself and to raise vital funds for Blind Veterans UK."
His team was forced to stop the challenge with only four miles to go because of dangerous weather, but after getting back on land Alan had another challenge: getting back to London in time to represent Blind Veterans UK at a veterans gathering at City Hall, as special guests of The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
During a speech at the reception honouring British Armed Forces veterans, The Mayor highlighted Alan and his Channel Swim challenge.
Alan says "I'm disappointed not to have been able to complete the swim this time, but I absolutely won't let that stop me. All three of us on the team are determined to try again and are hoping for better weather conditions next time around."
To support Alan on his swim, please visit his just giving page www.justgiving.com/Alanschannelswim/