Cumbria blind veteran encourages region to ‘Power Up for Veterans’

A blind veteran from Egremont is urging all those in the Cumbria area to take part in a boot camp style fundraising challenge in aid of the military charity that has supported him since he lost his sight.

33-year-old Darren Blanks joined the King’s Royal Hussars and completed two tours of Iraq in 2005 and 2007 before losing his sight suddenly due to Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.

He says:

“The pandemic means that more and more of us are cooped up inside whether that be due to working from home or the gyms being closed. Everyone knows how important exercise is for our mental health and so this challenge provides a great opportunity to get fit and raise money for a brilliant charity that need funds more than ever at the moment.

“As a former soldier I know how boot camps get you very fit very quickly so this is a perfect challenge for anyone wanting to level up their fitness in 30 days.”

Blind Veterans UK, the military charity that supports blind and partially sighted veterans across the UK, have launched ‘Power Up for Veterans’, a 30-day boot camp style challenge designed to get you in shape during isolation. By the end of the month fundraisers will be able to complete 60 press-ups, 300 squats and hold a plank for four minutes.

Darren completed a marathon in his back garden back in April, following the postponement of the London Marathon in which he was supposed to participate. He said:

“I decided to run the London Marathon for Blind Veterans UK as they have been supporting me for nearly ten years. Not only have they given me equipment to help me with day to day tasks but it’s great to meet other blind veterans and hear their stories”.

‘Power Up for Veterans can be done during any 30-day period. Register yours at

Blind Veterans UK has adapted its service to support its 5,000 beneficiaries, 90% of whom are over 70 and at an increased risk from Covid-19. The National Support Service will help blind veterans through this period of social isolation.

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.”

You can keep updated on Blind Veterans UK’s response to Covid-19 at where you can also find out more about supporting the charity to make this new service possible.

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By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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