Blind veteran walks 75 laps of his garden on VE day for ‘wonderful’ charity
- Credit: Archant
An 80-year-old Suffolk veteran has walked 75 laps of his garden to celebrate VE day and raised hundreds of pounds for the charity which has supported him and his wife through the coronavirus pandemic.
David Gant lives in Old Newton, near Stowmarket, with his wife and sweetheart of 58 years Jean who he met when they were just 15-years-old and now she takes care of him in their retirement.
The veteran lost his sight in 1995 to a genetic condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which he was diagnosed with at 40 years old and was told he would go blind if he lived long enough.
Mr Grant said: “I kept listening to Captain Tom on the telly and wanted to do something for Blind Veterans UK because they’ve been a godsend.
“A lot of charities are losing out at the moment and I’d like to give back to a charity which has helped me out a lot.”
Support worker Sally-Ann Nichol visits the Gants each week to deliver their shopping as they weren’t able to secure a delivery slot, and was fortunate enough to catch the end of the charity walk when she last visited.
She said: “When I explained as a team that we were going to attempt ‘75 for 75 anyway you like’ he really wanted to take part – I explained he didn’t have to do 75 of anything but we wanted to achieve that as a team.
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“David has amazed us by doing the full 75 laps of his garden.
“He inspired his neighbours, friends and family to donate to Blind Veterans UK and to date he has raised nearly £300 and contributed to us smashing our target.”
Nothing much can keep the 80-year-old down with Jean by his side and he said has no trouble coping with his loss of sight.
“People ask me how do you cope and I say I had a long time to prepare for it,” he said.
“You can’t just sit in a chair when you’re blind and wish it didn’t happen – you have to get off your bum and do something because it’s not going to magically go away.”
Mr Gant believes hobbies are key to staying happy and his lifetime love of steam trains occupies him plenty – while he can’t see them, he says he can still hear, smell and ride them.
Blind Veterans UK has been providing a practical support for blind members during the coronavirus crisis and also deliver outreach work over the phone.