South Wales blind veteran to run London Marathon for military charity

3 March 2015 17:11

A blind veteran from Gwent is set to run the London Marathon this April for Blind Veterans UK, the national military charity for vision impaired ex-Service men and women.

Charlie Parkinson, 38 and from Cwmbran, wants to give back to Blind Veterans UK for their continuing support and decided the best way to do it is by challenging himself whilst raising money for the charity that he says "saved his life". Charlie is training hard to finish the London Marathon in under 4 hours.

Charlie joined the Army in 1995 where he was part of the King's infantry regiment and later the Royal Medical Corps. Charlie served in the UK, Cyprus and Jordan and left the Army in 2003.

After the Army, Charlie worked as plaster and decorator until he lost his sight in 2010 due to Glaucoma.

Charlie says: "Losing my sight nearly ended my life. I stopped doing everything. A friend got me in touch with Blind Veterans UK, they saved my life.

Charlie started to receive support from Blind Veterans UK in 2011 and supplied him with technology and training to get him back on his feet.

Blind Veterans UK provides free services and help to veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight, be it due to accident, illness, or medical condition. The charity currently provides rehabilitation, training, care and recreational activities via its three centres (in Brighton, Llandudno and Sheffield) and a network of welfare staff spanning the UK supporting more than 4000 blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

Charlie says: "Blind Veterans UK is amazing. They gave me a new lease of life; they got me back on my feet and I am able to do almost anything I want to do, including the London Marathon.

"I feel that there is nothing I can't achieve with a little determination, in spite of my sight loss."

Charlie will be running the London Marathon with his guide, Bob, who is a volunteer at the Blind Veterans UK Llandudno centre. Together they hope to push themselves to beat their time of the London Marathon in 2014, which was 4 hours and 29 minutes.

Charlie says: "The London Marathon last year was amazing and a little overwhelming. The crowd supports you and it pushed me to work a little harder."

To sponsor Charlie as he takes on the London Marathon for Blind Veterans UK, please visit