About 100 people a day lose their sight due to preventable conditions; it can happen to anyone, but recently it happened to my mum. She lives alone, so things are difficult for her, but the highlight of her day is listening to talking books supplied by the RNIB, whilst the highlight of her week is visiting Bradbury Fields, a centre for the blind in Liverpool.
I am in the Royal Navy and living in Fareham, HANTS, so I don't get home to Liverpool as much as I would like. I joined the Navy at 17 in 1982 and initially served in the Submarine Service, based at HMS Dolphin, Gosport. I am currently based at HMS Collingwood in Fareham.
I recently took to cycling, as I hate driving to work, and I thought it would be great if I could cycle to Liverpool. Always up for a challenge, I decided I would try and raise money for the RNIB, hoping to sponsor more talking books for their library.
On Jul 3, I set of from HMS Victory in Portsmouth and made my way over Portsdown Hill and across the South Downs to Winchester, before heading NW to Shrivenham, where I stopped for the night. After an early rise on 4 Jul, I set off on a 110-mile journey and headed north through Gloucestershire, Worcestshire and the Midlands, arriving at Albrighton, near Wolverhampton at around 9.00pm. This was the longest and most difficult leg of my journey, made more difficult through the non-stop rain. On 5 Jul, I set off from Albrighton and passed through Shawbury, Wem, and Whitchurch, before making my way through Cheshire, across the Runcorn Bridge and into Liverpool. I visited Bradbury Fields for the blind, in West Derby, before finishing my 286 mile journey at the Liver Building, where I was met by staff from the RNIB.
I enjoyed the challenge and as the route took me across country, using mainly minor roads, I got to see the beauty of the English countryside. However, the English weather was a bit of a dampener. I also found navigation a little more difficult than anticipated, as I did it without GPS and used mainly directions that I had written from my studying of Google Maps. Lessons learned - padded shorts are a must, whilst GPS would have been extremely useful. However, now that it is finished, I have a sense of achievement and can look forward to my next challenge. Perhaps the English Coast!
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