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Glasgow blind veteran “climbing Everest” to give back to charity that gave him his independence

A blind veteran from Bearsden in Glasgow is ascending the height of Mount Everest through January and fundraising to give back to Blind Veterans UK, the military charity that helped him become independent after sight loss.

60-year-old Jamie Cuthbertson is completing 526 ascents of the stairwell in his block of flats in order to climb the 8,849-metre height of Mount Everest. By taking on 20 ascents a day he will complete the 47,866 total steps required to reach the peak.

Jamie says:

“Blind Veterans UK have been supporting me since I lost my sight in 1986. I’ve always wanted to do something to give back and lockdown gave me the perfect opportunity.

“After I got out of the hospital following my accident the charity put me through seven months of rehabilitation training at their centre in Brighton.

“They taught me all the things I needed to know in order to be independent. Things like mobility training so I could get around unaided, and IT training so I could type and use a computer. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them.

“So I’m climbing the height of Everest and raising money for Blind Veterans UK and the Macular Society. So far I’ve raised £1,500 towards my £2,000 goal. I appreciate any support that anyone can offer to help me hit my target!”

Jamie joined the Royal Engineers in 1982. He was based in Tidworth and served in Belize, Cyprus, Denmark and Germany. It was while preparing for a demolition exercise that 100 detonators went off next to Jamie and caused him to lose his sight.

To support Jamie please visit his fundraising page: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/jamiecuthbertson2

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 has and will continue to 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 blindveterans.org.uk/coronavirus where you can also find out more about supporting the charity to make this new service possible.

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