Twenty soldiers from the 21 Engineers regiment will be taking part in a 48-hour challenge on Tuesday 1 June for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
Sergeant Keith Bryson, 31 and from Doncaster, decided to organise the challenge after Simon Brown, a blinded Iraq war veteran who is supported by the charity, led a Teams call back in February. Keith says:
“Simon served in our regiment and talked about his experiences as well as the help he received from Blind Veterans UK. Naturally it was an easy decision to do something to contribute towards such a beneficial charity. He was very inspirational, and we decided that we wanted to give something back”.
The team, who maintain all the military transport for the regiment, will aim to cycle 2607km and row 104km over 48 hours at their base in Ripon, North Yorkshire. They will be doing two-hour rotations in groups of three and hope to reach their target before 8am on Thursday 3 June. Keith says:
“We’ve been training intensely for the last month, using equipment in the gym. We’ll be doing the challenge in the gym in our camp in Ripon. Hopefully we can raise lots of funds and awareness of the charity!”
Simon Brown, from Morley, joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1997. During his career, he worked as a vehicle mechanic servicing and maintaining Army vehicles, serving in Germany, Kosovo, Poland, Canada and Iraq. He was blinded by sniper fire while on a recovery mission in Basra in 2006. He says:
“During lockdown it was great for my own well-being to have something to do. Speaking to young service personnel who were in the same shoes I was 20 years ago, brought back some real nostalgia. I’m honoured and proud that the guys from my old corp have chosen to support Blind Veterans UK. I wish them all the luck on this epic challenge – although at my age I’m glad I’m not joining in!”
To support the 21 Engineer regiment and make a donation, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/keith-bryson
Nicky Shaw, Blind Veterans UK Director of Operations said:
“Living in isolation, blind veterans need our help right now with daily tasks, such as the shopping, and constant emotional support through this difficult time. So we are temporarily changing our service and mobilising our staff to provide practical, essential support to help the most vulnerable.
“There is so much that we can and must do to support blind veterans to help them maintain physical and emotional wellbeing, and to feel safe, reassured and cared for during this crisis.”