380 children from Asquith Primary School in Morley will be taking part in a fundraising challenge on Friday 30 April, to raise money for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
The children will each walk or run a mile to cover the length of Yorkshire. Head Teacher Gillian Austerfield says:
“The school are doing the challenge to support of our local hero Simon Brown, who is supported by the charity. He has been an inspirational friend of the school for several years and he is also a past pupil of mine!”
Gillian taught Simon at the very start of her teaching career and has always kept up to date with what he has been up to. Gillian says:
“I saw Simon on the local news talking about the Land’s End to John o’ Groats challenge that he is doing. As he was walking the length of Great Britain, the children decided to walk the length of Yorkshire!”.
Simon Brown, from Morley and who is supported by the charity Blind Veterans UK, is currently completing the 1,406 kilometres walking challenge alongside two of his Leeds Rhinos Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) teammates, as well as another friend. They started the challenge on March 1 and are planning to finish before VE Day on May 7. Simon says:
“As local lads it’s a real privilege that the kids see us as positive role models. We have been proud of what we have achieved as a team and it’s great that the kids are getting active and doing something poignant and fun to support the limping rhinos and Blind Veterans UK”.
Simon joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1997. During his career, he worked as a vehicle mechanic servicing and maintaining Army vehicles, serving in Germany, Kosovo, Poland, Canada and Iraq. He was blinded by sniper fire while on a recovery mission in Basra in 2006.
Simon will be visiting the school on Friday 30 April when the children complete the challenge. So far the children have raised over £600 and there will be a prize for the child who raises the most money. Head Teacher Gillian says:
“The support from the parents has been great”.
To support Simon on his challenge and make to donation, please visit: https://bit.ly/3u2i9jt
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 blindveterans.org.uk/coronavirus where you can also find out more about supporting the charity to make this new service possible.