Blindness not a barrier

PUBLISHED: 20:00 10 February 2015

Alan Lock during Marathon des Sables

Alan Lock during Marathon des Sables

Supplied

A Clevedon man who lost his sight while serving in the military is planning to embark on more major physical challenges in support of Blind Veterans UK.

Alan Lock has already taken part in the Marathon des Sables across the Sahara and become the first blind person to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and row the Atlantic, and now hopes to complete more challenges over the next few years.

Alan, aged 35, said: “I’ve always been active and enjoyed sports like running, swimming and football but all of a sudden I felt like I couldn’t do these anymore. It was very frustrating.

“Losing my sight was one of the worst things I could imagine happening to me but by completing those challenges I’ve proved to myself that I can still do the things I want.

“As I’ve gone on to do more physical challenges my confidence has continued to grow. Over the next couple of years I’m planning to run the London Marathon for the seventh time, take part in an Iron Man event and I’m going to attempt to swim the English Channel again.”

Alan, who lost his sight in 2005 while serving with the Royal Navy, has also given his support to new research released by Blind Veterans UK, a charity which supports ex-servicemen who are visually-impaired.

The charity’s Attitudes to Blindness survey found that 60 per cent of the UK is confident that blind people can still 
lead active lives, 60 per cent do not see blindness as being a barrier to leading a happy life and that 81 per cent think sight loss would not be an obstacle for someone starting a new career.

Alan said: “From my own experiences, I know that blindness is not something that should be viewed as a barrier to being able to achieve the things you want and I’m very pleased that the public’s views reflect this.”

The research also showed that there is room for improvement, with half of those surveyed of the opinion that a blind person could not do a job as well as a sighted person and 49 per cent believing they could no longer participate in sport if they lost their sight.


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