A combined cadet force from Sutton is taking on an enormous variety of fundraising challenges for the charity that supports blind and partially sighted veterans, Blind Veterans UK.
The 280 cadets from Wilson’s School CCF, which also includes cadets from Wallington High School for Girls, are over halfway to hitting their fundraising target of £2,600. One month ago the cadets were given a brief to complete a 2.6 challenge and since then have: walked 26km, ran 26 miles, baked 26 cookies, done 26 sit-ups, hit 26 consecutive numbers on a dartboard, cycled 260km in May, baked 26 apple fritters, stayed awake for 26 hours, scored 26 basketball hoops, stacked 26 cards and many more.
Chris Burton, Contingent Commander, said:
“Blind Veterans UK was selected as our charity because one of our Unit Officer’s friends is a beneficiary of the organisation and his life has been greatly and permanently changed for the better because of the charity.
“We decided to take full advantage of the free time that lockdown offered by challenging the cadets to take on a 2.6 challenge, no matter how small or wacky, and send us evidence for social media to encourage donations.
“It’s provided a real sense of togetherness and purpose for the cadets during the lockdown and it’s got them outside, keeping busy and doing something for a great cause. I thank all the cadets that have put their time and energy into this and of course, big thanks go to all those generous souls who have donated to the cause.
“We’ve raised £1,600 of our £2,600 target and have many more 2.6 challenges to follow in the coming weeks. If anyone would like to help us hit our target and raise money for those who have served our country and lost their sight, it would be really appreciated.”
Donations can be made here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wilsons-school-ccf
14-year-old cadet Ben Shorter ran a marathon in under three hours as part of the challenge. He said:
“It’s always been an ambition of mine to do a sub-three-hour marathon. This provided the perfect opportunity and it felt great to be doing it for a brilliant cause.”
The 2.6 challenge was launched with the aim of encouraging people to take on a challenge of their choosing, as long as it had a 2 or 6 in the title, in order to make up for the loss in income charities were facing due to the cancellation of fundraising events.
Blind Veterans UK has adapted its service to support its 5,000 beneficiaries, 90% of whom are over 70 and thus being advised by the Government to self-isolate. The National Support Service will help blind veterans through this period of social isolation.
Nicky Shaw, Blind Veterans UK Director of Operations said:
“Having to self-isolate, blind veterans need our help right now with daily tasks, such as shopping, and constant emotional support through this difficult time. So we are temporarily changing our service and mobilising our staff to provide practical, essential support to help the most vulnerable.
“There is so much that we can and must do to support blind veterans to help them maintain physical and emotional wellbeing, and to feel safe, reassured and cared for during this crisis.”
You can keep updated on Blind Veterans UK’s response to COVID-19 at blindveterans.org.uk/coronavirus where you can also find out more about supporting the charity to make this new service possible.