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Blind veteran taking on Great South Run

Published on 4 Aug 2023

“I’ve never been one for running, the last time I ran ten miles was probably in 1990!" says blind veteran Chris who has challenged himself to take part in this year's Great South Run.

On October 15, Chris and his son Ryan will be joining thousands of other runners taking on the ten mile course along the seafront and through the historic dockyard in Portsmouth.

Chris, who is 54 and from Portsmouth, said: 

“Taking on the Great South Run was my son Ryan’s idea. He wanted to do it to raise money for Blind Veterans UK as a thank you for the support the charity has given me. My wife then suggested that I do it with him."
Chris and his son in Blind Veterans UK t-shirts with their arms around each others shoulders
Blind veteran Chris and his son Ryan
A black and white picture of Chris wearing overalls while at work
Chris at work in the ammunitions store at 18-years-old
Chris in his beret and blazer and holding a white cane
Chris proudly wearing his military medals

Chris' son Ryan will be acting as his guide as Chris completely blind in one eye and only has around 20% vision in the other. He said:

“I’m not a runner and it may well end up being more of a walk than a run; just completing it will be an achievement and raising money for Blind Veterans UK is my goal.”

You can show your support for Chris and help him to boost his fundraising total.

Sponsor Chris' challenge

Military career

Chris joined the Army in 1986 when he was 17-years-old. He had intended to join the Royal Navy but by chance he came across an Army recruitment officer and signed up.

Following his training at Deepcut Barracks, Chris served with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps as an ammunitions storesman before becoming a staff clerk assigned to the Adjutant General’s Corps. His final posting was with the Royal Military Police based in Chichester.

In 1995, Chris was medically discharged from the Army as a lance corporal after developing type one diabetes. He went on to work for Hampshire Constabulary, the prison service and a local college.

Sight loss

At the age of 52, Chris discovered he was losing his sight and was diagnosed with anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy in both eyes which is caused by damage to the optic nerve. He said:

“It was a bolt out of the blue, totally unexpected. It felt like all the plans my wife and I had made, now that our children were old enough to look after themselves, were no longer going to be possible.”

Our charity

Chris discovered our charity and began to be supported by us in 2021.

“I have experienced so much since joining Blind Veterans UK, I’ve done things I’d never even thought about doing before and re-visited other things that I thought I’d never get to experience again."
Blind veteran

Since discovering our charity, Chris has enjoyed a number of our themed holidays including target week which included axe throwing, archery and clay pigeon and a driving week which saw him trying quad bikes, go karts and hovercraft. He said:

“While on these stays, we get three meals a day, entertainment, fantastic accommodation and amazing activities; there is nowhere else that I’d get to experience all that.
“You also get to spend time with other blind veterans and within ten minutes of meeting, we are all chatting and sharing stories. You make friendships and the staff are brilliant. Nothing is ever too much for them.
“I am quite adventurous and I will give anything a go. I intend to experience as much as I can with Blind Veterans UK and I also want to support the charity as much as I can hence putting on a pair of running shoes and challenging myself to run ten miles for the first time in around 30 years!”
Chris driving around a track in a go-kart
Chris enjoying our driving themed holiday
Chris with a member of staff stood behind him while he shoots at small targets
Chris taking aim during target week

Do you have a place in the Great South Run, or another challenge, and would like to find out how you can use it to support our charity?

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