Skip to content

News Supporters' stories

100 miles cycled to honour blind veteran

Published on 5 Jun 2024

Over £750 raised and 100 miles cycled by a London man who wanted to say thank you for the support which his father received after he lost his sight.

Keith, 60, took part in Ride London-Essex at the end of May to raise money following the death of his father, Alan, in January. Alan began to be supported by us in 2015. The last years of his life were also spent living at our Centre of Wellbeing on the south coast.

Keith stood with his bike wearing his helmet and a Blind Veterans UK cycling top. One hand is holding the bike up and the other is doing a thumbs up
Keith ready to ride
Keith and Alan are enjoying time together sat side by side with the sea in the background.
Keith with his father Alan

Alan completed his national service in the RAF in the late 1940s. After basic training he became a radar defence operator and was then recalled in 1952 for the Korean War.

He lost his sight later in life due to macular degeneration. Keith says:

“Neither me nor my father realised how much we were affected by his sight loss for some time but he was definitely depressed. With the support of Blind Veterans UK, dad managed to stay in his home for a few years and he was supported in finding equipment and services that were available to him.
“He took part in activity weeks with Blind Veterans UK such as painting and cooking, and enjoyed a guided history talk and dinner and dance functions. With their support I saw him come out of his shell again and he was confident to go out alone."
“Later in my father's life, when he moved into the charity’s centre, the staff were fantastic with him; his mental wellbeing greatly improved. When the end was near, and my father entered palliative care, the staff were brilliant and looked after both me and my father."

Keith told us that it was a no brainer for him to take part in a sporting event to raise money for our charity as he wanted to do something to give back and to honour his father who was a very keen sportsman.

Keith successfully completed the course, which starts in London and makes its way through the Essex countryside before finishing back in the capital city on Tower Bridge, in five and a half hours. He says:

“The ride went well, the weather was kind and I made brisk progress. The last few miles Dad was in the forefront of my thoughts, it was emotional but spurred me on remembering his grit and determination.
“My father was a sports fan all his life and he encouraged me to take part in many sports as a youth. Dad won many competitions in football, rugby, cricket, boxing and later in life, when mobility became an issue, he took up bowls and again won a number of national competitions. When he lost his sight he then bowled for Enfield Blind Bowlers."
“I was emotional when I crossed the finish line but also elated. Blind Veterans UK did so much for my father and my family, that I had a great sense of achievement to be able to give back.”

Keith took up both cycling and pilates to help with his recovery following a back injury, both of these have now become hobbies and passions. He rides both mountain bikes and road bikes, the latter as part of an unofficial cycling club/social group. He says:

“In June 2021 I was taking part in the Suffolk 100 and was involved in a crash and broke three vertebrae. Once again, I used pilates and cycling as part of my recovery to regain my strength and flexibility. I returned to Suffolk the following June and completed the Suffolk 100. Cycling has been incredibly important to me both for fitness and my mental wellbeing.”

Keith has already raised over £750. You can help him to further boost his fundraising and support our blind veterans: 

Visit Keith's Just Giving page

Has Keith inspired you to take on a cycling challenge?

Find out more