Yorkshire Army veteran's walking challenge for charity that helped him find joy in life after blindness

A blind veteran who sought charity support after the loss of his beloved guide dog is now readying to return the favour with a walking challenge to raise much-needed funds.

Brian Marshall and his wife Barbara are taking part in a walking challenge over the month of February along with 24 other veterans in order to support Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women. Picture Tony Johnson

Brian Marshall, from Doncaster, joined the Army straight from school but was medically discharged after a year of service when he lost the sight in his left eye.

The 69-year-old, registered blind since 2001, said he had been too 'proud' to ask for help and had only approached Blind Veterans UK in 2017 after losing his guide dog.

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The charity has helped him regain a new lease of life, he said, through cookery and archery courses, driving lessons and the gift of a tandem bike so he can cycle with his wife Barbara.

Brian Marshall and his wife Barbara are taking part in a walking challenge over the month of February along with 24 other veterans in order to support Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women. Picture Tony Johnson

Now, joining 24 other veterans in South Yorkshire, he is to walk every day through February to raise vital funds for the charity.

"Blindness is a horrible thing but there is life after it," said Mr Marshall. "You do have to adapt, and it isn’t easy but with the right support it is possible."

"The charity has been a brilliant support and I will do anything I can to help them.

"There are so many veterans out there that don’t know that they are eligible for our support because they have never heard of us."

Brian Marshall and his wife Barbara are taking part in a walking challenge over the month of February along with 24 other veterans in order to support Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women. Picture Tony Johnson

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Having been diagnosed with glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) in his right eye, Mr Marshall can now only make out shapes and he can no longer see faces.

All through January Mr Marshall has been walking to build up his stamina, averaging 12,000 steps a day, and he said it has been a great incentive to keep him active.

Mary James, community leader at Blind Veterans UK says: “We decided to organise this community challenge to not only encourage the veterans to be active during the lockdown period but to also bring the members together virtually.

"It’s been lovely to hear all their feedback of how their walking is going so far and a few of them are getting very competitive."

To support Mr Marshall and other veterans on their walking challenge, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/com12steps