SIX men from Llandudno braved below-freezing conditions to walk backwards and blindfolded from Llandudno to Chester and back again to raise money for three charities including Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
Owner of the town’s Tynedale Hotel, Nathan Midgley, his son-in-law Sam Midgley-Davies and four of their friends and colleagues, who call themselves the Llandudno Vikings, set off on the 108-mile challenge on 16 December from the Llandudno Cenotaph.
The group, aged between 18 and 54, battled through icy conditions and freezing temperatures for just over 23 hours before arriving in Chester around 9.20am on 17 December.
Nathan Midgley said:
“The majority of the challenge was completed blindfolded but we were forced to remove our blindfolds for the coastal path section as the conditions were too treacherous.
“Blisters, strains, nausea, soft tissue damage and exhaustion meant that very, very reluctantly, my team were forced to retire from the fundraiser having reached Chester.
“I set off for the return journey, with the other five guys joining the support team, just before 11am and I arrived back at the Llandudno Cenotaph at 11.30am on 18 December to a fantastic welcome.
“It was such a tough challenge physically but more so mentally in below-freezing conditions.
“I take my hat off to the team of young “Vikings” aged 19 to 30, they all learnt so much about themselves on this journey and went through a rollercoaster of emotions. This challenge has made them stronger, wiser, and more determined to beat me next time and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
“Two days after this challenge they were back at it hiking up the Great Orme in Llandudno with rowing machines strapped to their backs. I gave that one a miss!
“We then all joined together to take part in the Llandudno Boxing Day dip and any money raised from that was also added to our fundraising total which is being split equally between Blind Veterans UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Welsh Air Ambulance Charitable Trust.
Sam Midgley-Davies said:
“Our challenge was inspired by The Goons song ‘Walking backwards to Christmas’ and the blindfolded element was inspired by the challenges endured by blind veterans every single day and we want to pay homage to that.
“We all live in or around Llandudno where Blind Veterans UK has one of its centres of well-being, so the charity is close to our hearts.
“We’d like to thank the fantastic team of forward-walking volunteers who acted as our guides, we couldn’t have done this without them. Also thank you to those who have donated and to those who came out to cheer us along.”
So far the Llandudno Vikings have raised £14,453 to be split between the three charities. If you would like to support them in raising even more, please visit their fundraising Give Wheel page here: givewheel.com/the-big-
If you are inspired by the Llandudno Vikings and would like to take on a challenge for Blind Veterans UK visit the charity’s website: blindveterans.org.uk/fundraise.
Blind Veterans UK supports thousands of blind veterans across the country but knows there are many thousands more who still need its support to rebuild their lives after sight loss.
If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, and are now struggling with sight loss, then please get in touch. Call 0800 389 7979 or visit: blindveterans.org.uk/support .