Shropshire blind veteran encourages region to take on a Virtual Sight Run Challenge

A blind veteran from Shrewsbury is urging all those in the Shropshire area to take part in a virtual 5/10K challenge in aid of the military charity that has supported him since he lost his sight.

40-year-old Alan Lock joined the Navy in 2002 and spent the bulk of his time undergoing submarine training. It was three years later in 2005 that a rare genetic condition similar to Macular Degeneration would steal his sight and force him to withdraw from the Armed Forces.

He says:

“After lockdown I think a lot of people are probably sick of Netflix and ready to get out there. There really is no feeling like the endorphins running through your body after exercise and the great thing about this challenge is that you get a personalised training plan to help you make baby steps until you achieve your 5 or 10K personal best after six weeks. On top of that, the money you raise will be supporting a charity that’s transforming the lives of thousands of blind veterans across the UK. The current climate means they need more support than ever at the moment.”

Blind Veterans UK, the military charity that supports blind and partially sighted veterans across the UK, has launched the ‘Virtual Sight Run Challenge’, a 5/10K challenge complete with a bespoke training plain for you to hit your personal best after six weeks.

Alan completed the charity’s physical Sight Run back in February before mass participation events were cancelled due to Covid-19. He says:

“I did the Sight Run with my guide as a warm up for the London Marathon that we were due to take part in together in April. It was a fantastic event and wonderful to run around London at night.”

He continues:

“I’ve seen first-hand the transformational impact the charity has on blind veterans’ lives including my own. They’ve supported me into employment and given me training in assistive technology so I’m still able to utilise all the fantastic technology available despite having a visual impairment. They even got me skiing which I never thought I would be able to do again.

“I can’t describe how grateful I am that this one-of-a-kind organisation was there with me on every step of my journey adapting to life with sight loss. Losing my sight at such an early age was a huge challenge and I don’t know where I’d be without their support. I wholeheartedly encourage everyone in Shropshire to consider taking on this brilliant event for a wonderful charity.”

The Virtual Sight Run Challenge can be done in any six-week period. Register yours at

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 will 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.”

You can keep updated on Blind Veterans UK’s response to Covid-19 at where you can also find out more about supporting the charity to make this new service possible.

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