A BLIND veteran will tackle the Brighton Marathon in aid of a charity that “rescued” him from an unhappy and isolated existance.

David Cranson, from Deaf Hill, near Sedgefield, County Durham, has credited Blind Veterans UK with bringing him 'back to life' as he struggled to come to terms with his sight loss.

The 59-year-old, who served with the Royal Artillery between 1971 and 1975, sufferes from the genetic condition optic ataxia, which causes the optic nerves in the eye to deteriorate.

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“For many years I was going nowhere,” he said. “I had no life and I genuinely didn’t care about what happened to me.

“I began losing my eye sight and I felt extremely sorry for myself. I didn’t care about doing anything or achieving anything. For a long time I felt very low”.

The Northern Echo:

However, this all changed when he joined Blind Veterans UK, a charity that provides free, lifelong and comprehensive emotional and practical support to all blind veterans, regardless of when they served or how they lost their sight.

For Mr Cranson, whose eyesight began to fail nearly twenty years after his time in the Armed Forces, it was access to the charity’s sport and training facilities that proved the real lifeline.

Tackling the Brighton Marathon, on Sunday, April 6, will be the latest in a string of challenges he has taken on since joining the charity, having already completed five London triathlons, two Great South Runs and the London Marathon.

“I really feel as though Blind Veterans UK rescued me - they brought me back to life. I have no doubt that I would not be here if it wasn’t for them.

"I have learnt so much and come such a long way with them.

“Through them I have become really active and fit, having not done any physical activities for 20 years.

“Taking part in the Brighton Marathon in aid of Blind Veterans UK is my way of saying thank you, and giving something back for every bit of support, encouragement and training they have given me.”

Entries for the Brighton Marathon have now closed but those who have a ballot place and would like to raise funds for Blind Veterans UK can contact fundraising@blindveterans.org.uk

For more information about the charity visit blindveterans.org.uk