A blind veteran from Aldershot in Hampshire is taking on the Brighton Half Marathon later this month in order to raise funds for the charity he credits with giving him his confidence back after he lost his sight.
47-year-old Andy Leitch will be participating in the event on June 27 alongside his guide Wayne Larkin. Andrew has little to no peripheral vision and so will remain in constant communication with Wayne throughout the race, who will alert him to any hazards he may not be aware of.
“Blind Veterans UK invested a lot of time to rebuild my life when I’d lost all hope. 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.
“So I’m doing this for them. It will be a great feeling to give back to the charity that has supported me so much.”
The race will be Andy’s third Brighton Half and will serve as great preparation for the London Marathon which he is due to complete in October.
Andy joined the Army in 1992 and spent 19 years with the Royal Logistics Core. 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.
Andy has set himself a £200 fundraising goal. To help him hit his target, please visit his Just Giving page here: justgiving.com/fundraising/Andy-waynes-marathons
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.”