Former soldier takes on 100k challenge for Blind Veterans UK

Being a soldier was a '˜brilliant experience' for Dan Baldwin and now he wants to give something back.

Saturday, 23rd June 2018, 2:16 pm
Dan Baldwin is honoured to be able to support the vital work carried out by Blind Veterans UK

The 41-year-old from Worthing will be taking part in the Blind Veterans UK 100k, a walk from London to Brighton to raise money for the charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-service men and women.

Dan will be joined by four former Army friends and said he was excited by the challenge, though it was a bit daunting.

“Gary, Pete, Neil and I were all in the Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers (REME) together,” explained Dan.

“In fact, Gary, Pete and I all started the same apprenticeship course at Princess Marina College Arborfield together in 1994.

“For me personally, it was a brilliant experience. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I left school but joining the Army gave me direction and training. The apprenticeship itself was second to none and has served me exceptionally well throughout my entire career.”

Dan left the Army in 2004 after ten years’ service and now works in quality assurance.

He said: “It was the right time for me to leave. I reached a set of crossroads where it was either leave, or spend the rest of my life in the forces. I was ready to start a new career and start a new family, so it was definitely the right decision.”

Dan saw an advert on Facebook for the Blind Veterans UK 100k, which takes place on July 7 and 8.

He said: “When I saw the event, my interest was piqued immediately. My friends and I try to do a challenge every year. We did the South Downs Way last year and have previously completed the Three Peaks, amongst other things.

“My knee has taken a bit of a hit over the past few years, so as a walking event, the 100k was perfect for me.

“I’m really looking forward to it. Obviously, it’s a daunting prospect but, being veterans, we’ve yomped and marched a fair old distance. We haven’t really got a time we’d like to finish in, mind, it’s really more about finishing and raising as much money as we can.”

Dan has a tremendous amount of respect for veterans living with sight loss, so was keen to support the charity.

He said: “Leaving the Army with your health intact is hard enough. The idea of leaving while also battling blindness is terrifying and we’re honoured to be able to support the vital work carried out by Blind Veterans UK in ensuring these brave men and women are given every opportunity to live with the confidence and independence they so richly deserve.

“We’ve heard many fantastic things about the atmosphere on the day. The camaraderie is meant to be brilliant, so I think we’re all just looking forward to that.

“What’s going to be the icing on the cake, however, is the prospect of finishing at the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Ovingdean. It’s so rare that, when fundraising for an organisation, you get to meet the beneficiaries, so it should be a truly special moment.

“For anyone even vaguely interested in taking part, I’d recommend it 100 per cent. The fundraising, the sense of anticipation and promise of achievement is all fantastic. Even the training has been enjoyable so far.”

The walk starts at Hammersmith and Fulham Rugby Club and crosses the North Downs, taking people via woodland and small villages to Sussex and the South Downs.

Registration is £50 for individual and team entrants, £100 for relay teams. There is a minimum sponsorship pledge of £300 for individuals, £1,250 for teams and £500 for relay teams. The all-inclusive entrance fee includes lunch, dinner and breakfast at numerous rest stops, snacks and refreshments along the route and a free event t-shirt.

Visit justgiving.com/daniel-baldwin11 to support Dan.

To sign up for the Blind Veterans UK 100k, visit blindveterans.org.uk/100k