A family from Grantham has raised £2,500 by tackling a 100km walk from London to Brighton for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
Pam MacAllister, 56, wanted to give back to the charity that has been supporting her father for the past seven years and encouraged her family to join her in the Blind Veterans UK 100k London to Brighton challenge. They finished in 27 hours and 12 minutes and raised £2,500 for the charity.
Pam’s father, Edward King, served in the Army from 1945 until 1948 as part of his National Service. He went to Israel and Egypt with the South Wales Borderers and was discharged as a Lance Corporal. Edward suffers from macular degeneration and started receiving help and support from Blind Veterans UK in 2009.
Pam said: “I’ve noticed a real change in my father since he began receiving support from Blind Veterans UK. He was beginning to feel isolated but his induction week at the charity’s centre changed all of that.
“The equipment he got makes a real difference too, especially the magnifier provided by the charity that he uses to read his letters.”
Pam was joined on the walk by her husband Andrew, son Joe and his girlfriend Katie.
Pam says: “It was a great family affair. My younger son Sam acted as a driver and team support and drove us down to the start. We were all keen to get going after such a long build-up. My nephew also joined us for the walk so his family was there as well to see us off.”
Once underway, they walked from Fulham across London into the Surrey and Sussex countryside. The family braved heavy downpours which made for unpleasant walking for an hour and created some muddy sections. Around the half way point Katie had to pull out due to feeling unwell and Joe stayed with her.
Pam says: “The medical team were excellent and she was really well looked after. She’d walked over 30 miles at this point and it certainly proves how tough the challenge is as Katie had walked further than that only a year ago.”
Pam and Andrew continued with the walk and started the night time section, following the glow sticks across roads and muddy fields.
Pam says: “The peace of the countryside during the night time walk was lovely. However, I started to struggle around 62k when we got to the fifth rest stop and I wasn’t sure at that point whether I could finish the challenge.”
With only 25k to go that still meant a good six hours walk for them. Pam says: “It wasn’t long before tiredness kicked in and again I wondered if it was possible to finish. The South Downs were still ahead of us and we knew from bitter experience how tough it can be. However, our son Joe joining us for the last bit gave me the motivation I needed.”
The family came across the finish line at the Blind Veterans UK Brighton centre after 27 hours and 12 minutes. Fortunately, Katie felt fine after a good rest and was at the finish line to support the family.
Pam says: “The welcome sight of the Blind Veterans UK Brighton centre caused sheer relief and exhilaration. We had finally done it and it was incredibly emotional to have our family there to cheer us on!”
You can still support the MacAllister family for the Blind Veterans UK 100k London to Brighton challenge by visiting www.justgiving.com.
The London to Brighton 100k Challenge is Blind Veterans UK’s biggest annual fundraiser. To sign up for the Blind Veterans UK 100k Challenge, visit www.blindveterans.org.uk/100k.
Registration for the 100k 2017, which will kick off on Saturday 1 July 2017, is currently open with an early-bird registration fee of £50 for the 100km. Teams taking part in the relay have a registration fee of £100. The all-inclusive entrance fee for participants includes lunch, dinner and breakfast at three rest stops, snacks and refreshments along the route and a free event t-shirt.