A retired Police Detective from Devon is currently training to compete in a 100km walk from London to Brighton for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
David Bailey, 56 and from Totnes, came across the event after his girlfriend forwarded him a link on Facebook. He recalls: “I love walking and try to do it as much as I can. Last year I did 4,200 miles worth of walking, which averaged out at about 10/15 miles per day! I was in the Metropolitan Police Force for 30 years and so was able to take early retirement. I’m fortunate enough to live in Devon, too, which means I’ve just got some fantastic countryside to walk in and plenty of time to do it!”
While the physical challenge itself was a natural attraction, David explains that after researching Blind Veterans UK, he soon found himself eager to support the work the organisation does in supporting veterans living with sight loss. He says: “I’m not afraid to admit that I simply had no idea just how many of our ex-Service men and women were battling blindness. I naively assumed there would be a just a handful of veterans in this position. Sadly I was greatly mistaken and so I’m honoured to be able to support charities like Blind Veterans UK who provide such critical support to those who so desperately need it.”
David himself has witnessed first-hand the immense contribution made by those in the Armed Forces. He explains: “My father served in the South Wales Borderers Regiment and my brother was in Desert Storm, serving in the French Foreign Legion. It’s therefore safe to say I’ve an immense amount of appreciation for the bravery of our Service men and women, both past and present.”
Despite the wealth of walking experience David is able to boast, he admits the short timeframe over which the challenge occurs has him feeling slightly apprehensive. He says: “The distance doesn’t worry me as I do well over 100 miles a week. It’s just the fact that it’s over such a short space of time!
“Now that I’ve come to understand exactly what Blind Veterans UK does, I’m also desperate not to let anyone down: myself, my friends or the charity. I just hope I finish it!”
For now, while he spends his time getting the miles in, David is keen to encourage as many people as possible to get themselves signed up and support a worthwhile cause. He says: “It really is a great charity. I myself have experienced temporary blindness following eye surgery. It’s something that completely changes your life, and to think that our ex-Service personnel have to go through so much worse, and on a permanent basis, is horrendous.
“Anything we can do to support them will be immensely worthwhile.”
The 100k London to Brighton will take place from 7 – 8 July 2018. It will see participants start off at the Hammersmith and Fulham Rugby Club, before crossing the North Downs, walking via woodland and small villages to Sussex and through the South Downs.
Registration is currently open with a fee of £50 for individual and team entrants, and £100 for relay teams. There is a minimum sponsorship pledge of £300 for individuals, £1,250 for teams and £500 for relay teams. The all-inclusive entrance fee includes lunch, dinner and breakfast at numerous rest stops, snacks and refreshments along the route and a free event t-shirt.
To support David as he takes on the 100k for Blind Veterans UK, please visit: justgiving.com/david-bailey40.
To sign up for the Blind Veterans UK 100k, please visit blindveterans.org.uk/100k.
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.