A woman from Salisbury is taking on the London Marathon this April for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
Marie Manning, 38 and originally from Llanfairfechan, Wales, will be running the world famous course on behalf of the charity which has supported her Grandfather, Hywel, since last May. She says: “He’s a blind veteran himself and lives in North Wales, and as a result has received so much support from the charity’s Llandudno Centre. They’ve basically given him another life. Without them, he’d be massively restricted in terms of where he could go.”
Marie won her place to compete in this year’s London Marathon in the ballot and says that the decision as to who she would raise money for did not take long. She says: “I wanted to do something that truly meant something to me and my whole family. They’ve given him so much – his stick, audio news devices; so the decision to run on behalf of Blind Veterans UK was an easy one. My grandfather’s immensely proud of me for doing it, I’m just raring to go now!”
Marie’s appreciation for the men and women who serve our country also stems from her husband’s own military career, himself having been in the Army Air Corps as a WO2 helicopter pilot for 26 years. In fact, it was thanks to her husband that Marie currently finds herself in preparation for the 26-mile challenge. She says: “He’s been trying to get a place for years. I’ve just been dabbling, having done the Bath Half Marathon and a few other smaller events. So when he went to enter for this one, I did so mainly to get a training top! Eventually I got a place but he didn’t, so I didn’t really have much of a choice at that point!”
Having known since October that she had a place, Marie has embarked on a strict and gruelling training schedule that has so far seen her lose an incredible three stone. Such is Marie’s level of commitment that she’s given up alcohol and has already got a 25-mile run under her belt. She says: “I’m starting to get really excited now; training’s going well and I’ve already ran 25 miles, so I know that getting round the course won’t be a problem. Originally I wanted to finish in six hours, but now, given how well trainings been going, I think I’m going to aim for closer to five!”
To support Marie as she takes on the London Marathon for Blind Veterans UK, please visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Marie-Manning1.
Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 and the charity’s initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in WWI. But the organisation has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning WWII to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.
For more than a century, the charity has been providing vital free training, rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to blind and vision-impaired veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight. Visit blindveterans.org.uk/support to learn more about the charity and how you can support its vital work today.
For all media enquiries please contact: Felix Arbenz-Caines PR Assistant, Blind Veterans UK, 12 – 14 Harcourt Street, London, W1H 4HD, E: Felix.Arbenz-Caines@blindveterans.org.uk, T: 020 7616 7941
Notes to Editor
Blind Veterans UK
Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan’s) is a national charity that believes that no-one who has served our country should have to battle blindness alone. It provides blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women with lifelong support including welfare support, rehabilitation, training, residential and respite care.
The charity needs £100 million over 5 years to provide lifelong support to blind ex-Service men and women. Find out more at: www.blindveterans.org.uk, and follow us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/blindveteransuk and on Twitter at: twitter.com/blindveterans.