'I didn't want my baby to go blind'

Kevin Beesting with his 11-year-old grandson Joe Wilkinson and Mr Beesting's  guide dog Spencer
Kevin Beesting with his 11-year-old grandson Joe Wilkinson and Mr Beesting's guide dog Spencer
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A blind Leeds pensioner's  11-year-old grandson who suffers  from the same hereditary  condition  that led to him losing his sight has helped raise thousands of pounds for Guide Dogs.

Kevin Beesting, 67, Yeadon, was born with condition that caused his sight to deteriorate over the decades until he lost all vision four years ago.

Kevin Beesting with grandson Joe Wilkinson

Kevin Beesting with grandson Joe Wilkinson

Mr Beesting has eight grandchildren and one - Joe Wilkinson, aged 11, of Guiseley - has the condition called retinitis pigmentosa.

Mr Beesting said Guiseley St Oswald's Cof E Primary School pupil Joe's vision is deteriorating more quickly than his did.

Joe's mother Stephanie Beesting, 42, said her son was diagnosed at four-years-old, adding: "I felt like my life had ended - I didn't want my baby to go blind."

Miss Beesting, who has multiple sclerosis, said the average person has 180 degrees of vision, but Joe - who has to use a cane while walking - only has ten degrees of vision and sees everything as if he is looking down two straws.

Kevin Beesting pictured with his son Mathew during the walk to raise cash for Guide Dogs.

Kevin Beesting pictured with his son Mathew during the walk to raise cash for Guide Dogs.

Miss Beesting said: "He is positive all the time. Every single person with retinitis pigmentosis is different so they wont make any suggestions as to how quickly his eyesight will go.

"It could stay like he is now for the next 60 years or it could go in two weeks. That's very unlikely but these is no way of knowing."

Miss Beesting's eight-year-old daughter Molly does not suffer from the condition.

Kevin Beesting said: "Joe is coping very well. He will get plenty of support from his family, myself and his school.

Keving Beesting (fourth from left) with other walkers after finishing the 25-mile Over the Hills challenge.

Keving Beesting (fourth from left) with other walkers after finishing the 25-mile Over the Hills challenge.

"He has got good set of friends. Her is a smashing lad, he is very clever."

Mr Beesting said his nephew Joshua Denby, 22, also has the condition.

Mr Beesting, who was registered blind aged 50, has had his guide dog Spencer since 2015 and hopes Joe will be able to get a guide dog when he needs one.

Mr Beesting is a fundraiser for Guide Dogs and he and Joe took part in one of a series of fundraising walks earlier this month, which have so far raised more than £4,500 for the charity.

Joe and his friends and cousins completed a six-and-a-half-mile walk along the Leeds Liverpool canal to raise money.

More than 50 people took part in fundraising walks as part of an Over The Hills Challenge.

Mr Beesting completed a tough 25-mile walk from Yeadon Tarn to Otley Chevin via Ilkley Moor and Addingham Moorside in just under 11-hours.

His sons Matthew, 37 and Adam, 37, helped guide him during the tough walk through challenging terrain.

Mr Beesting said: "It was very difficult and I was quite proud of myself.

He said: "We have been absolutely delighted with the amount of money everyone has raised."

To contribute to Kevin Beesting's fundraising for Guide Dogs, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kevin-beesting1