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Take on a challenge for Armed Forces Month

Published on 21 Mar 2024

One of our fantastic staff, Lynn, 52, and her husband Chris, 44, recently ran 23 miles between their home in Peacehaven and our Rustington Centre of Wellbeing raising over £1,000 to support our blind veterans.

Lynn hopes her fundraising will inspire others to take on a challenge this June to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day and National Armed Forces Day.

Will Lynn inspire you to take on your own challenge?

Get some ideas here
Lynn and Chris running away from the beach at Rustington towards the entrance for the Rustington Centre
Lynn and Chris on their approach to the Rustington Centre
Lynn and Chris standing at the front of the Rustington Centre with their arms in the air. They are surrounded by staff and residents
Lynn and her husband Chris celebrate their arrival at the Rustington Centre

Lynn’s challenge

Lynn is a Senior Health Care staff member based at the Rustington Centre and has worked for our charity for nearly 20 years supporting many blind veterans who have entered through the doors.

Joined by her partner the pair completed their run in 4 hours and 49 minutes.

Lynn only took up running a few years ago, with Chris encouraging her along the way. Her first fundraising run was a 5K in aid of a cancer charity. Lynn says:

“I cried my eyes out as I couldn’t believe what I had just done. It was so rewarding as I was helping people, which is what I love doing.
“I went on to run a 10k, then a half marathon, and we decided to carry on and do a full marathon. I ran the Brighton Marathon in 2022 running past the charity’s previous Centre of Wellbeing in Ovingdean with the blind veterans cheering me on.”

The inspiration for Lynn and Chris’s latest fundraising efforts came from the team of blind veterans and supporters that walked the same route in August last year when we moved our Centre of Wellbeing from Ovingdean to Rustington.

Lynn had previously worked at our centre in Ovingdean before we relocated to Rustington last year; there was no doubt in Lynn’s mind that she would make the move too. 

“I love working for the charity; it is a real privilege to support our veterans. I have met and supported so many over the years including current resident, D-Day veteran Ken.”
Staff member at the Rustington Centre

Blind veteran Ken

Blind veteran Ken, 101, enlisted into the Royal Army Service Corps in 1942 and became a driver, delivering essential cargo across England.

During the D-Day invasion, Ken drove back and forth, close to the frontline, moving ammunition, fuel and materials as they were needed. He then drove through France, on to Holland, and finally to victory in Germany. Ken says:

“There was no time to think, we just kept going. We kept up with the Germans and stayed out of trouble.”

Ken spoke of his work waterproofing the lorries so they could be driven in the sea. He said:

“No one had driven in the sea before. We extended the exhaust pipe above the cab, then waterproofed the back axel, gear box and engine. We used a lot of insulation tape, all the pipes and joints had to be wound round and then we used putty to seal it all up.

“It was something that no one had done before; we did a wonderful job.”

At 7.30am on 6 June 1944, Ken drove his vehicle onto Sword Beach. He recalls:

“It was horrible because the Germans were waiting for us, of course. I was one of the lucky ones who got through, but we lost a lot of people, a lot of men. I met a Frenchman at the top of the beach, who said, “Hello Tommy, I knew you’d come back one day.”
Ken pictured alongside a tank at the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth
Ken during a recent visit to the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth

Ken's sight loss

Ken lost the sight in his left eye following an accident just after the war ended, but went on to work as a bus driver.

He was diagnosed with macular degeneration later in life and has previously said:

“Blind Veterans UK have been brilliant to me. It’s awful when you lose your sight, as suddenly you can’t do the things that you used to be able to do."

“One of the best things about Blind Veterans UK is being able to meet others in the same situation as myself as not only do we have a shared background in the military but we also face the same challenges that come with sight loss.”
Blind veteran

Fundraising this June

We have many activities planned to ensure the veterans we support can be part of commemorations and celebrations taking place throughout June to mark not only D-Day 80 but also National Armed Forces Day (29 June).

If you, or your organisation, are looking for ways you can mark this poignant month, while also raising money to provide life changing support to veterans like Ken, there are lots of ways in which you can do this.

Perhaps you could highlight the 80th anniversary of D-Day by getting creative with “80” or step back in time to the 1940s.

You could plan a fundraising challenge with an £80 target per person, bake 80 cakes for your work colleagues, walk, run or cycle 80 kilometres during the month of June or hold a 1940s tea dance.

Are you inspired to take on your own challenge for Armed Forces month?

Get some ideas here

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