Hampshire blind veteran cycling from London to Brighton to raise money for the charity that has supported him since he lost his sight 

A blind veteran from Aldershot in Hampshire is challenging himself to cycle 55 miles for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Servicemen and women.

Andy Leitch, 47 is taking part in the annual 55-mile London to Brighton Cycle Ride in September to raise money and awareness for Blind Veterans UK.

No stranger to taking on sporting challenges, Andy has previously run marathons, ultra-marathons, walked 100 miles and completed triathlons, all to raise money for the charity that he says gave him back his confidence after losing his sight.

Keen to try something different, Andy signed up for the London to Brighton Cycle Ride and will be joined by his 20-year-old son, Joseph.

Andy said:

“This is a completely new challenge for me and I’m finding that it’s all about confidence. 

“When running and walking I follow my guide or have them by my side but on the tandem bike I will just be looking at my son’s back. Joseph will have full control of the brakes and the gears and I need to have complete trust in him. 

“Anyone who knows me knows that I always start and I always finish the challenges that I set myself. It doesn’t matter if you’re super fit or a plodder like me. It’s about raising awareness, raising funds and having fun along the way.” 

The tandem bike that Andy and his son will be completing the gruelling cycle ride on has been loaned to the pair by Blind Veterans UK.

Andy says:

“The loan of the tandem bike has enabled me to take on this latest challenge. Blind Veterans UK has invested a lot of time over the years to help me rebuild my life when I’d lost all hope.  

“When I first came to the charity I was feeling sorry for myself, but they made me realise what was possible and gave me the confidence to start doing physical activities again and get back to work. 

“I love to get stuck into these personal challenges to give back to the charity that has supported me so much.” 

Andy joined the Army in 1992 and spent 19 years with the Royal Logistics Corps. It was at the age of 37 that retinitis pigmentosa caused a gradual decline in his sight which meant he was forced to retire early from the military.

Luckily in 2011 he discovered Blind Veterans UK who have been supporting him ever since.

If you would like to join Andy in raising money for Blind Veterans UK, sign up to take part in this year’s London to Brighton Cycle Ride here: www.blindveterans.org.uk/londontobrighton  

Blind Veterans UK supports thousands of blind veterans across the country, but knows there are up to 50,000 more who still need its support to rebuild their lives after sight loss.

If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, and are now struggling with sight loss, then please get in touch. Call 0800 389 7979 or visit blindveterans.org.uk/support

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