A woman from Mile End is training to compete in the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women, after it supported her late grandfather.
Hana Barten, 23 and originally from Colchester, decided she wanted to give something back to the charity in memory of her grandfather. She says: “I really wanted to do some fundraising for Blind Veterans UK in memory of my beloved grandfather. They really helped him towards the end of his life, so after taking a look at their website, I decided that the Royal Parks Half Marathon would be a good one to do!
“I think the idea of challenging myself, along with channelling my grief for my grandfather, really appealed to me. I really like to push myself so once my boyfriend told me he’d do it with me, I had no excuse!”
Hana, whose late grandfather, David Barten, known among friends and family as Tiger, served as a Desert Rat in the Second World War, started to lose his sight during the final few years of his life. The support the organisation was able to provide him with was such that Hana was determined to help raise its awareness. She explains: “They helped him in so many ways. A keen reader, they sent him special glasses and a device that magnified words on paper, making it easier for him read. My grandmother even joined him for a weeks’ holiday at their Brighton centre, which I know they both really appreciated.
“I really cannot express just how brilliant Tiger was. I could literally fill a book with funny stories about him, he was the best.”
Hana, who works for a Talent Management company, admits that while she’s not a natural runner, she’s confident she’ll have no issue in finishing the 13.1-mile course come race day. She says: “I was the girl that faked ill in every single PE class! I can’t even run non-stop for five minutes now, but I know that once I’ve got stuck into my training schedule, I’ll have no problem in finishing.”
Hana and her boyfriend, Tel, who is a music promoter, are hoping to raise funds by putting on a night with live music.
As for the event itself, she’s keen to encourage as many people as possible to sign up, and has even offered her training services to those who are still undecided. She says: “Just do it! Seriously, if I’m doing it then you can too. If you need a training buddy I’ll be the red faced girl puffing around Victoria Park most evenings until October.”
To support Hana and Tel as they prepare to take on the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, please visit: justgiving.com/Hana-Barten.
The Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, which takes place on 8 October, is one of the most popular events in the UK, taking you through Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. For a registration fee of £30 and a minimum sponsorship pledge of £300, participants can still sign up to run on behalf of Blind Veterans UK. Visit blindveterans.org.uk/royalparks to find out how you can get involved.
Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 and the charity’s initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in the First World War. 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. They have set the ambitious target to double the number of veterans receiving its life changing support to over 8,000 by 2022.
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 is a national charity that believes that no-one who has served our country should have to battle blindness alone. Founded in 1915, the charity provides blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women with lifelong support including welfare support, rehabilitation, training, residential and respite care.