A writer and poet from Saltdean has competed in Revolve 24, the Brands Hatch Cycle Challenge, for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-service men and women, for whom he is a volunteer.
David Attree, 44 and a long time cycling enthusiast, grew up in Brighton near the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre, and has therefore been aware of the work the charity does for a long time. He says: “Since my early childhood I’ve been fully aware of the wonderful work Blind Veterans UK does in providing opportunities for blind veterans to regain their confidence and lead fulfilling lives.”
David admits that if there was one thing he gained from the entire experience, which saw him burn an extraordinary 4,500 calories, it was a renewed sense of appreciation for the daily struggles those living with a vision-impairment endure. He explains: “After riding 85 miles solo, shifting gears frequently, my mind has now shifted to the challenges that the beneficiaries of Blind Veterans UK face each day.
“Yesterday was physically and mentally challenging, but it was just one day and ended with a feeling of tired euphoria. Today, I’ve been reminded of the basic ability to see and appreciate everything visual by sharing and commenting on the race day photos that have been posted on the internet.
“After 85 miles of hill-climbing and tucked-in descents, my contact lenses were gritty, uncomfortable and sore – but, critically, I could see just fine. It’s increased my level of respect for blind veterans who are forced to make enormous and permanent changes in their lives.”
David writes and performs poetry, and has also written a children’s picture book which is ready to be taken on by an agent. He admits that his decision to volunteer for Blind Veterans UK, which provides free lifelong support to vision-impaired ex-Service men and women, was a straightforward one. He says: “I visit their Brighton centre each week, spending time with a range of veterans. I’ve even had the honour of recently being named the centre’s ‘Writer in Residence’!” A wonderful privilege indeed.
“There are so many amazing stories waiting to be shared and recorded from all the beneficiaries who reside there. I’m delighted to be able to record them and write them up into punchier prose. These articles will soon be forming a section on the charity’s website and I’m excited for people to read them.”
David is now keen to encourage anyone else contemplating taking part in a fundraising challenge to take the plunge. He says: “For anyone else considering taking part in a fundraising challenge, I’d say, quite simply, do it! The spirit of these events are amazing and suitable for people of all abilities.”
“Today, I ache a bit, but that will pass. I rode Brands Hatch GP circuit. That memory will last.”
To donate to David, please visit: justgiving.com/davidattree3.
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. T
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.
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.