A FORMER soldier is taking on a 100km walk for charity. Andrew Rolston is training several times a week for the London to Brighton challenge in aid of Blind Veterans UK, which supports blind ex-servicemen and women.
The 50-year-old from Brighton was in the Army from 1984 to 1992 and was part of the Royal Engineers bomb disposal unit and the Parachute Regiment. He served in Northern Ireland and later worked as a driver in the Logistic Corps.
Mr Rolston has been joined in his training by his pet dog Lieutenant Colonel Robert Touser – or Bob for short. Because of his background, Mr Rolston wanted to give back to a military charity and chose to fundraise for Blind Veterans UK, which has a centre in Ovingdean.
He said: “I’ve done ultra distance running in the past. Unfortunately I cannot run like that any more but I can walk. This challenge is exactly what I like to do. “In previous running events I did feel the surroundings passed me by. I hope to enjoy the views on the 100k and the fun atmosphere.
“The support Blind Veterans UK provides for people with sight loss is incredible. It is great to support such a worthy cause.” Mr Rolston is hoping to finish the challenge in 19 hours and is calling on as many people as possible to sign up for the event.
He said: “I encourage everyone to sign up for the Blind Veterans UK 100k challenge. “Yes, it is a challenge, but you never know what you’re capable of unless you give it a go.” Registration for the 100k, which will start in Putney on Saturday June 6, is currently open with a registration fee of £35 per participant for the 50km or £50 for the 100km.
Teams taking part in the relay have a registration fee of £100. The all-inclusive entrance fee for participants includes hot food at three rest stops, snacks and refreshments along the route and a free event t-shirt.
The event is Blind Veterans UK’s biggest annual fundraiser. It will take walkers from a starting point in south London, along the banks of the Thames, through countryside paths in Surrey, Sussex and the North and South Downs to Ovingdean.
To find out more and to sign up for the challenge, visit http://www.blindveterans.org.uk/100k/
by Siobhan Ryan
Blind Veterans UK (previously known as St Dunstan’s) was founded by Sir Arthur Pearson in 1915. Having lost his own sight through glaucoma, he was shocked at society's attitude to blindness.
He decided to help those who had lost their vision in the First World War by giving them care and rehabilitation to lead constructive, self-sufficient lives.
Nearly a century later the charity not only cares for ex-service men and women blinded in action but also veterans who have lost their sight through accident, illness or old age.