Blind veteran’s half marathon challenge

Blind veteran David Cranson will take on the Brighton Half Marathon next month.
Blind veteran David Cranson will take on the Brighton Half Marathon next month.

A blind veteran aims to take on a half marathon to raise funds for a military charity.

David Cranson, from Deaf Hill, County Durham, will take on the Brighton Half Marathon on February 28 to raise cash for Blind Veterans UK, to thank the charity for turning his life around.

The 61-year-old joined the army in 1971 and served in the Royal Artillery as a gunner driver. He left the army in 1975 but lost his sight in 1988 as a result of optical atrophy – a hereditary deterioration of the optic nerves.

He lost 90% of his vision and is now registered as blind.

His life changed in 2007 when he decided to call Blind Veterans UK and ask for help.

He said: “I thought I had no future and my life went out of control.

“I knew I was entitled to support from the charity in 2000, but it took me seven years to have the right attitude to get on the phone.”

David went to the charity’s centre in Sheffield for rehabilitation and training, learning a range of kitchen, household and life skills.

In 2008, his Welfare Officer introduced him to sports.

Over the next year, David completed triathlon training at the Blind Veterans UK Brighton Centre and then at the Millhouse Leisure Centre in Hartlepool.

Now he has already completed one Brighton Marathon, the London Marathon, three Great South Runs, four 60-mile tandem bike rides, a 75-mile and a five-day trek over the South Downs.

He said: “Blind Veterans UK rescued me and I give them the full credit for what I’ve achieved today. I gave in to my sight loss at first but now my life is fulfilled, thanks to the charity’s help.”