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Blind veterans take on gruelling 100km walk from London to Brighton

PUBLISHED: 14:33 16 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:33 16 July 2018

Colin Penaluna (right) and Roan Webb, who took on the 100km walk from London to Brighton for Blind Veterans UK Picture: BLIND VETERANS UK

Colin Penaluna (right) and Roan Webb, who took on the 100km walk from London to Brighton for Blind Veterans UK Picture: BLIND VETERANS UK

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Two blind veterans from Suffolk took part in a gruelling 100km walk from London to Brighton in 24 hours to raise money and awareness for a military charity.

Colin Penaluna, 57, from Bury St Edmunds, and Roan Webb, 49, from Ipswich, completed the challenge for Blind Veterans UK – a charity which provides free support to vision-impaired ex-Armed Forces and National Service personnel.

The walk started at Hammersmith and Fulham Rugby Club in London and took challengers onto the North and South Downs, ending up at Blind Veterans UK’s rehabilitation centre on the Brighton seafront.

Colin, who served in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers for eight years between 1978 and 1986, and completed tours in Cyprus, Germany and Canada, said: “It’s been a difficult year for me with injuries so I wasn’t able to do so much training. That combined with the 32 degrees heat meant that it was tough but I still managed to complete the 100km in 22 hours.

“When I lost my sight I was depressed and just living day to day. Since joining Blind Veterans UK I’ve got my confidence back and I’m living life to the max.

“With the support I’ve received I’ve been able to stay active by going caving, abseiling, snowboarding and lots more.”

Roan joined the Royal Artillery in 1986 and was posted to Germany where he was stationed for four years until he was discharged as a Gunner in 1990 due to his sight loss.

“I did a lot of running, walking and spinning to train for the event and it paid off when I was able to hit my target,” he said.

“It’s the most difficult thing I’ve done in recent years and I couldn’t have done it without my amazingly positive guide, Hannah. I’m in really good spirits and already looking forward to next year.

I’ve been involved in all sorts of events that I never thought I would have been able to participate in since my sight loss.

“Blind Veterans UK are always pushing my limits and I’m looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.”

The charity has a dedicated community team in Suffolk who provide support including training, equipment and social events for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women in the local area, no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.

Anyone who has served in the armed forces and is battling sight loss can get in touch with the charity on 0800 3897979.

Visit www.blindveterans.org.uk to learn more about the charity.

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