AN ex-soldier who lost more than 90 per cent of his sight has fought back to become an amazing athlete.
David Cranson, 59, is registered blind after a condition called optic atrophy robbed him of nearly all his sight in May 1988.
He admitted he was at an all-time low but he turned his life around when he decided to use a new philosophy of “attitude, achieve and accept.”
Now, the granddad of four has completed ten major challenges including the London triathlon four times, and this year’s London Marathon - with a guide - in five hours and 15 minutes.
He’s not finished either.
He will tackle a 75-mile walk in September in aid of the Blind Veterans Rehabilitation Centre in Brighton.
His astonishing achievement have earned him a nomination for the Hartlepool Mail sports awards.
David, who is dad to Karen Cranson, 36, and Wayne Cranson, 33, said: “I am flattered and very honoured. To me, it is all about attitude.
“I have accepted who I am, I have got my attitude right and I am achieving.”
David was a gunner driver in the Fifth Regiment of the Royal Artillery, driving the Stalwart amphibious vehicle. He served for four years from 1971.
After he was demobbed, he worked in factories in the Durham area and for the National Coal Board before he was made redundant in 1986.
Just two years later, he lost more than 90 per cent of his vision through a deterioration of the optic nerve.
But in 2007, he picked himself up. First, he registered with Blind Veterans UK and joined the Royal Artillery Association in Hartlepool. He then became a regular at the Mill House Leisure Centre in town, joined the Durham Blind Society and a fitness group in his hometown of Trimdon Station.
“I was always a sporting lad in the Army and when I joined the Blind Veterans, I went in the gym for the first time in 25 years and the people there said ‘David, we are here for you if you are willing to do this’.”
Now he’s a super fit athlete whose nomination for our awards, from Hartlepool man Tug Wilson, said: “He shows great strength of character and determination. I have no hesitation in nominating him for an award.”
We would love to hear from more people willing to nominate town sporting heroes - or even those unsung sporting stalwarts who make our town the success that it is.
We have already received nominations in the Hartlepool Mail Sports Awards, but we want many more and anyone can nominate.
There are 13 categories to choose from, covering all aspects of the sporting world.
Whether you compete internationally, or just enjoy sport at a more local level, it doesn’t matter.
We want to honour the heroes who do our town proud at all standards of competition. Here are the categories
Team of the Year;
Sportsperson Special Achievement Award;
Disabled Sports Person Award;
Disabled Team of the Year;
Contribution to Disability Sports Award;
Sports Official/Referee Award;
Coach of the Year Award;
Unsung Hero Award or Volunteer/Young Leader Award;
Club of the Year Award;
Lifetime Achievement Award;
Sports Personality of the Year Award;
Young Sports Personality of the Year Award;
To nominate, go Here.
The closing date for entries is September 13.