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A blind veteran from South Yorkshire will be taking part in a walking challenge over the month of February along with 24 other veterans to raise money for us.

69-year-old Brian Marshall has been walking every day in January in preparation for the challenge which will start on Monday 1 February. The 25 blind veterans, who are all local to the South Yorkshire area, will walk a distance of their choice every day with the total number of steps added up at the end of the month. 

Brian joined in the Army straight from school and was medically discharged after a year of service when he lost the sight in his left eye. He has since been diagnosed with glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) in his right eye and was registered blind in 2001.

Fortunately, Brian found Blind Veterans UK and started to receive support from us in 2017. He says: “I can only make out shapes now and I can’t see faces. I heard about the charity a long time ago, but I didn’t make enquiries because I was proud and didn’t think that I needed their support. When I lost my guide dog a few years ago, I was encouraged to get in touch with the charity and reach out for their help. I have never looked back. What they have done for me and my wife has been amazing”.

“It’s great to be part of this challenge. It’s keeping me active and getting me out of the house. I put on my walking boots and a warm coat and I’m averaging about 12,000 steps a day! The charity has been a brilliant support and I will do anything I can to help them. Hopefully this challenge will raise help some much-needed funds!”
Brian Marshall, blind veteran
“We decided to organise this community challenge to not only encourage the veterans to be active during the lockdown period but to also bring the members together virtually. It’s been lovely to hear all their feedback of how their walking is going so far and a few of them are getting very competitive! Hopefully we can raise as much money for the charity as we can. It would be great if this challenge could help raise awareness of the charity”.
Mary James, Community Team Leader at Blind Veterans UK

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Brian regularly visited the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Llandudno. He says: “I took part in a driving week at the centre which was fantastic. I lost my driving license when I lost my sight, so it was my first time in front of the wheel in 34 years! I’ve also been on cookery weeks and taken part in archery classes. The charity has also given me and my wife a tandem because we love to cycle”.

The charity has provided Brian and the other walkers with a pedometer so that they can count their steps every day. The 25 veterans will be split up into five groups and the winning team with the most steps covered will be announced at the end of the month.

Brian will be doing the walk alongside his wife Barbara.

To support Brian and other veterans on their walking challenge, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/com12steps

“My wife has been an amazing support to me, and the charity have been there for both of us. Blindness is a horrible thing but there is life after it. You do have to adapt, and it isn’t easy but with the right support it is possible”.
Brian Marshall, blind veteran


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