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Fundraising in memory of a loved one

Published on 27 Jan 2023

Richard will be taking on the London to Brighton Cycle on 10 September in memory of his late wife Maria. He vows to continue to fundraise for our charity as it was so important to her.

Maria joined the Army at 18-years-old and had a short career with the Woman’s Royal Army Corps, followed by 11 years with the Territorial Army.

In 2003, while working as a nurse in a job she loved, Maria began to lose her sight. Within six months she had suffered almost complete sight loss due to a genetic eye condition.

Maria started receiving support from us in 2004 and was determined to give back by fundraising and raising awareness after she felt we had turned her life around.

Richard, who is 70-years-old and from Lancashire, says:

“Maria was a blind veteran through and through and Blind Veterans UK meant so much to her."
“I didn’t know Maria when she first lost her sight, but she told me she was in a very dark place until Blind Veterans UK gave her the confidence to pick herself up and she decided sight loss would not stop her from making the most of her life."

“Through the charity Maria started trying lots of new activities like skiing and white-water rafting and she was given IT training which helped her secure a job as an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer, helping people who had lost their sight.

“The first question she would ask people is ‘did you serve?’ and if the answer was yes, she pointed them in the direction of Blind Veterans UK.”

Richard and Maria dressed in high vis tops stood holding up their tandem bike
Richard with Maria on their tandem bike
Maria and Richard walking side by side along a country footpath
Maria and Richard taking part in 100k walk from London to Brighton

Maria carried out a lot of fundraising for our charity and raised more than £5,500 for us. She also inspired many others to join in with her.

In September 2021, Maria and Richard took on the 55-mile London to Brighton Cycle on a tandem bike in what, they didn’t realise, would be her last fundraising challenge.

Just one week later, doctors gave Maria the devastating news that she had a tumour and within a year she had lost her battle with the illness.

In 2021, the ride took the pair nine hours to complete and now Richard is going to be facing it solo in her memory.

Richard says:

“I want to forever keep the link with Blind Veterans UK and to also keep Maria’s memory alive.
“I think I’ll be fine while I am doing the ride, but I might find it emotionally tough at the finish line.”

Show your support for Richard and help him to reach his £500 fundraising target.

Go to his fundraising page

Victoria from our Community Partnerships Team says:

“We are so touched that Richard is taking part in this event, continuing Maria’s efforts to ensure other veterans can receive the life changing support that she did.
“Many of our supporters first get involved with fundraising in memory of a loved one.  Grief can often result in the experience of a loss of direction, particularly when the person we have lost is part of our everyday routines.
“Getting involved in training for a challenge or organising a fundraising activity can give back that sense of purpose while supporting a cause that helps them feel connected with their loved one.”

Would you like to take on your own challenge for our charity to remember someone you love?

Get some ideas here

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