Tag Archives: Blind Veterans UK

215-mile ultra-marathon for Charity!

Woman completes 215-mile ultra-marathon for her Father & Charity!

Woman completes 215-mile ultra-marathon and raises a fortune for the charity that supported her late father

original article by CharityToday

A woman from St Annes in Lancashire came third in a virtual 215-mile ultra-marathon, crossing the finish line after 70 hours and raising over £3,000 for the charity that supports blind and partially sighted veterans, Blind Veterans UK.

28-year-old Star Bickerstaff was originally running to fundraise for potentially lifesaving stem cell treatment for her Army veteran father who had Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Paul. Sadly four weeks ago Paul passed away and Star had reservations about whether she would take part in the race or not.

Star said:

“My dad was so supportive of my running. He wanted to frame my first 200 race shirts! When he died I considered dropping out but I knew that he wanted to see me cross the finish line so I decided to do it for him.”

Star completed the Ultra Great Britain virtual race on Tuesday 14 July, exactly three weeks after Paul had passed away. The 215-mile race was originally due to take participants across the width of Scotland before being made virtual because of COVID-19. Star completed the race on a treadmill in her conservatory, using a Garmin tracking device to alert race organisers of her progress.

Star with her dad, Paul

Star added:

“The hardest moment was on the final night. I hadn’t slept in three days and I couldn’t get any food down me. Then I realised that when I finished it would be the three week anniversary of dad’s passing. I got very emotional but I just did what I always do and think of the end goal and that got me through.”

Star decided to donate the money she raised to Blind Veterans UK, who had supported Paul to adapt to life with sight loss.

Star mid-race

She said:

“I was initially sceptical when they got in touch as it was only my family that had cared for dad at that point. But we went down for a week at their rehabilitation and training centre in Llandudno and I was blown away.

“The care they showed my dad was just amazing to see. Dad was a talented painter before the onset of his MS and we never thought that he would be able to paint again. Well Blind Veterans UK taught my dad how to paint using his mouth so after 20 years he was able to paint again. He’d also always wanted to write a book but couldn’t use a computer so Blind Veterans UK taught him to write using buttons on his wheelchair. They literally helped in any way they could. I can’t thank them enough for the care and support they gave my dad and that is why all money raised will be going to them.

“I know my dad would be happy with the decision. Not only did he receive support but he also saw the way they supported other blind veterans who often didn’t have the family support system that he did. They’re often lonely and isolated but when they get down to one of Blind Veterans UK’s rehabilitation centres they are made to feel like the most important person in the world and they go home feeling like they mattered. Dad really recognised that and used to tell me all the time.”

Star began her extreme running challenges after missing out on a spot in the 2016 London Marathon and consequently signing up for the Jurassic Coast Challenge – three marathons in three days. She plans to level up her challenges in the future while still raising money for Blind Veterans UK. Next up is an 885-mile race called ‘Joggle’. She has so far raised £3,000 of her £40,000 target. To help her hit her target please visit her Go Fund Me page here: gofundme.com/f/2gg8zd8

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 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.

 

Blind Veterans: Ending Social Isolation

Ending Social Isolation with Blind Veterans UK

Ending Social Isolation with Blind Veterans UK

When Ken lost his sight he also started to lose himself. Ken’s story demonstrates the loneliness often experienced by the veterans we support as the isolation felt as they age only increases with the loss of their sight.

Ken’s story  – YouTube Video Below

Watch an audio-described version of the film    Click to play

When Ken lost his sight, he also started to lose himself.
Ken is one of our London-based veterans. He was part of the Royal Air Force in 1949 and served for nine years. Like the vast majority of those we support, Ken lost his sight decades later due to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).

At the time he started to lose his sight, his wife passed away.
“I realised I was lonely, and that’s not an easy thing to admit really. After I went to Brighton I realised it was just the fact that I was going somewhere and it really brought me back into the world again.”

When Ken lost his sight he also started to lose himself

Isolation affects many older people across the UK. For those veterans living with the challenges of sight loss, this can have an even greater impact.

Ken joined the Royal Air Force in 1949 and served for nine years but, like the vast majority of those we support, lost his sight decades later due to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).

“At the time my sight started to go I’d been in hospital and my wife had just died, everything was going around me. I was more or less at the bottom and didn’t know how far I was going down.”

Blind veteran, Ken

Feelings of isolation

It’s a sad fact that many of the blind veterans we support suffer from social isolation. It happens as we get older and our families leave us, and partners pass away. For people with sight loss, that isolation is all the more painful to bear.

It’s not just about losing other people though, with Ken it was also about being isolated inside himself. You are unable to carry out tasks such as going to the shops or even pick up a phone to speak to a friendly voice. For those who can’t see, it often leads to losing your self-belief, and – even worse – your sense of belonging.

Liam’s Story – Volunteer – YouTube Video Below

Volunteers and wellbeing

“The first thing Blind Veterans UK did was to arrange for me to visit their training centre down in Brighton for an intro week. It was only when I came back I realised how low I had been.”

Ken now regularly attends Blind Veterans UK events and we have also connected him with one of our volunteers, Liam, who visits Ken several times a week.

We have set a target to recruit even more volunteers, with a specific focus on recruiting Home Visitors, like Liam. This is crucial in helping to combat the isolation experienced by so many of our veterans like Ken.

“Just having company again did and still does make a huge difference.”

Blind veteran, Ken

Our support

We support ex-Service men and women of every generation rebuild their lives after sight loss by providing rehabilitation, training, practical advice and emotional support to vision impaired veterans across the UK.

Ken’s story is an example of the difference made by the training, rehabilitation and support we provide. He has been given new equipment, like a CCTV Magnifier, which allows him to read his mail again and a specially adapted electronic tablet, which allows him to keep in touch with friends and family.

Together we can help rebuild blind veterans’ lives after sight loss. Away from isolation. Towards a life of fulfilment.

Donate Now

 

Christmas Carol Concert – 5th Dec!

Blind Veterans UK Carol Concert 5 Dec - Call 020 7616 7959
Venue:
St Marylebone Parish Church,17 Marylebone Rd,London,NW1 5LT
Time:
6.15pm doors open - 7pm start - 9.00pm
Phone:
020 7616 7959
Date:
05th December 2017
Cost:
£18 Concert & Reception £35
Contact:


We are once again hosting our spectacular annual Christmas Carol Concert at St Marylebone Parish Church on Tuesday 5 December.

All money raised from this event will help support thousands of blind veterans in finding life beyond sight loss.

  • There will be lots of festive carols, celebrity readings and musical delights during the evening, including mince pies!
  • We are pleased to announce that well known British actor Brian Blessed will be joining us as one of our celebrity readers.
  • After the concert, there will be a drinks reception in The Crypt underneath the church.

Date: Tuesday 5 December 2017 Time: 6.15pm doors open for a 7 pm start

Venue: St Marylebone Parish Church,17 Marylebone Rd,London,NW1 5LT

Tickets for the concert cost £18  and reception cost £35

All money raised from this event will help support thousands of blind veterans to find life beyond sight loss.

More information can be found and tickets can be purchased online at http://www.blindveterans.org.uk/carolconcert or by calling 020 7616 7959.

or you can help by donating at  www.blindveterans.org.uk/

Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan’s) 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 the Second World War to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.

For 100 years, 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.

 

Christmas Carol Concert – 5th Dec!

Blind Veterans UK Carol Concert 5 Dec - Call 020 7616 7959

We are once again hosting our spectacular annual Christmas Carol Concert at St Marylebone Parish Church on Tuesday 5 December.

All money raised from this event will help support thousands of blind veterans in finding life beyond sight loss.

  • There will be lots of festive carols, celebrity readings and musical delights during the evening, including mince pies!
  • We are pleased to announce that well known British actor Brian Blessed will be joining us as one of our celebrity readers.
  • After the concert, there will be a drinks reception in The Crypt underneath the church.

Date: Tuesday 5 December 2017 Time: 6.15pm doors open for a 7 pm start

Venue: St Marylebone Parish Church,17 Marylebone Rd,London,NW1 5LT

Tickets for the concert cost £18  and reception cost £35

All money raised from this event will help support thousands of blind veterans to find life beyond sight loss.

More information can be found and tickets can be purchased online at http://www.blindveterans.org.uk/carolconcert or by calling 020 7616 7959.

or you can help by donating at  www.blindveterans.org.uk/

Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan’s) 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 the Second World War to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.

For 100 years, 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.

 

Blind Veterans UK Christmas Carol Concert 5th Dec!

Blind Veterans UK Carol Concert 5 Dec - Call 020 7616 7959
Venue:
St Marylebone Parish Church,17 Marylebone Rd,London,NW1 5LT
Time:
6.15pm doors open - 7pm start - 9.00pm
Phone:
020 7616 7959
Date:
05th December 2017
Cost:
£18 Concert & Reception £35
Contact:


We are once again hosting our spectacular annual Christmas Carol Concert at St Marylebone Parish Church on Tuesday 5 December.

All money raised from this event will help support thousands of blind veterans in finding life beyond sight loss.

  • There will be lots of festive carols, celebrity readings and musical delights during the evening, including mince pies!
  • We are pleased to announce that well known British actor Brian Blessed will be joining us as one of our celebrity readers.
  • After the concert, there will be a drinks reception in The Crypt underneath the church.

Date: Tuesday 5 December 2017 Time: 6.15pm doors open for a 7 pm start

Venue: St Marylebone Parish Church,17 Marylebone Rd,London,NW1 5LT

 Tickets for the concert cost £18  and reception cost £35

All money raised from this event will help support thousands of blind veterans to find life beyond sight loss.

More information can be found and tickets can be purchased online at http://www.blindveterans.org.uk/carolconcert or by calling 020 7616 7959.

or you can help by donating at  www.blindveterans.org.uk/

Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan’s) 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 the Second World War to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.

For 100 years, 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.