An RAF veteran from Oxfordshire is set to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
Ian Dewar, 57, and from Witney, will be travelling to Tanzania to take on Africa’s highest mountain on 18 January.
“It will take seven days to reach the summit, the slower you go up, the more chance you have of succeeding and not being affected by altitude sickness. I’ll be walking around six to eight hours a day and the final day will be 15 hours.
“The total height is 19,340ft. I was in the RAF for 33 years and have climbed a few mountains but this will be the tallest.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Ian and his partner became part of a local volunteer group which provided assistance to those who were isolating. During this time they met blind veteran Norman who is supported by Blind Veterans UK.
“As we got to know Norman, it became apparent that the assistance he had received from Blind Veterans UK since being registered blind in 2013 had made an amazing difference in improving his quality of life.
“Norman joined the Navy at 16 in 1947 and served for nine years. He then had a 27-year career with the police service. He is now 92 and is my inspiration for taking on this challenge for Blind Veterans UK.”
As part of Ian’s fundraising for Blind Veterans UK, he took on a 100km spin bike challenge on 29 November. He was joined by nine others who each completed 100km. Blind veteran Norman came along to see how Ian was getting on and completed 1km on the bike.
“It was a wonderful day and I was overwhelmed to have the support of those who jumped on a bike alongside me.
“To have Norman there meant a lot to me. I hope my efforts go some way to helping Norman, and his fellow blind veterans.”
Ian has already raised £2,832 of his £5,000 target. His employer, Babcock International, has donated £2,000 towards his fundraising. If you would like to support Ian in reaching his target for Blind Veterans UK, please visit his Just Giving page: justgiving.com/page/ian-dewar
If you are inspired by Ian and would like to take on a challenge for Blind Veterans UK visit the charity’s website: blindveterans.org.uk/fundraise
Blind Veterans UK supports thousands of blind veterans across the country, but knows there are many thousands 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/gethelp