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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Darren’s trek-tastic mission

A BLIND ex-soldier will take part in a gruelling 100k walk in 24 hours for a veterans’ charity.

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DAD’S OUR HERO: Darren Blanks with his sons Jensen and Austin just before he set off to London to take part in the London to Brighton 100k walk

By Mark White

Darren Blanks, of Egremont, a veteran who served in Iraq, will take part in the walk to raise money for ex-service personnel affected by sight loss.

The 27-year-old, is raising money for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-service men and women.

Darren served in the King’s Royal Hussars from 2003 to 2008, during which he completed two tours of Iraq.

On leaving the Army, he was diagnosed with Leber’s optic neuropathy, a rare genetic disease which has gradually robbed him of his sight.

Since joining Blind Veterans UK, Darren has completed a 13-mile cross-country challenge with the Cumbria Army Cadet Force and was the Olympic torch-bearer for Egremont ahead of the 2012 London Games.

Darren said: “Ever since joining Blind Veterans UK, I’ve always wanted to do the 100k walk and decided to take the opportunity this year. The money they provide to help buy equipment is so important as it gives people their independence back. There’s no chance most people could afford the equipment without the help of the charity. That’s why I want to do this to give something back for all the help they’ve given me.

“I’ll be walking the route with my friend Ned, who I’ve known since school and he’ll be doubling as my guide.

“The event is a 24-hour walk through the night, so I think the biggest challenge is going to be keeping Ned awake!”

Darren is aiming to raise £500 for Blind Veterans UK, a charity which offers support to help veterans regain their independence after sight loss.

The 100k is Blind Veterans UK’s biggest annual fundraiser and takes walkers from a starting point in south London, along the banks of the Thames, through countryside paths in Surrey, Sussex and the North and South Downs to the charity’s centre in Ovingdean, Brighton.

To support Darren on the 100k walk, visit www.justgiving.com/darren-blanks2

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