Monday, 20 May 2024
Monday, 20 May 2024

London man runs Brighton Marathon for military charity that supported his friend

A man from London has raised over £1,000 for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-servicemen and women, which supported his friend who lost his sight while serving in the Army.

Stuart Gough, 44, from Crystal Palace, ran the Brighton Marathon recently and finished in three hours and 39 minutes. 

Stuart ran in honour of his friend, Simon, who had an accident in Cyprus while playing rugby with the Army resulting in severe head and neck injuries; he lost his sight and the use of his arms and legs.

Stuart said:

“Simon was a kind, gentle man whose strength was not only physical but also of character and heart. Following the accident, Simon was left fighting for his life, but he didn’t give up. Sadly his life was cut short and he died in 2008 at the age of 29, but his memory lives on.

“Simon was an accomplished sportsman and loved playing rugby. He was a true inspiration and never let the course of life stop him from being a kind and considerate son, brother and amazing friend.

“I signed up to take part in the Brighton Marathon in January, as that would have been Simon’s 45th birthday. We were neighbours growing up, he was one year and three days older than me.”

Stuart did not leave himself much time to train for the event and set himself a tough training programme. 87 days of running or strength training, seven days a week.

He said:

“I wouldn’t say I breezed it, but I got around. I was spurred on as I passed the old Blind Veterans UK Wellbeing Centre. I didn’t actually know it was there so was gobsmacked when I saw it. 

“I chose to support Blind Veterans UK as the thing Simon missed the most was his sight. Blind Veterans UK supported him and found ways to help him communicate.

“I feel a bit emotional, I just wanted to make Simon proud and I hope I’ve done that. I know what an amazing job Blind Veterans UK does and I’m delighted to have been able to do something to honour Simon and to also support other blind veterans.”

So far Stuart has raised £1,135 for Blind Veterans UK. If you would like to make a donation to support him with his fundraising please visit his JustGiving page.

If Stuart has inspired you to train for a marathon, you can register your interest now for a place in the London Marathon 2025: blindveterans.org.uk/support-us/londonmarathon.

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/gethelp. 

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