A blind veteran and Army Cadets from Derbyshire have conquered more than 50 miles across the Peak District for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women…

Simon Mahoney, 69 and from Ashbourne, and his dog Becky were supported by cadets from A Company Derbyshire Army Cadet Force during his walk from his home town through the Peak District to Sheffield during the weekend of 23 – 26 September.

Simon says: “The terrain was much tougher than I thought and it meant it was a real challenge for both me and the cadets. They guided me by describing the terrain and what was in front of me, which must have been tiring and quite an exercise for them but they did a great job.”

Simon took on this demanding challenge because he wants to raise as much awareness and money as possible for Blind Veterans UK, the charity that has supported him for the past three years.

Simon says: “I want to try and get the attention of veterans who are suffering from sight loss and their family and friends to let them know there’s a charity that can support them. Losing your sight is not the end of the world and only a small part of being blind. You can still do things and Blind Veterans UK can help. They teach you to improvise, adapt and overcome. This challenge proved my point that a blind man can do anything with decent guidance.”

Simon was supported by cadets from the Ashbourne, Matlock, New Mills and Glossop detachments of the Derbyshire Army Cadet Force. Captain Adrian Dobb says: “We got involved at Simon’s invitation. As part of our normal activities we look to give the cadets a strong sense of citizenship and supporting good causes, such as Blind Veterans UK, within the local community.

“From my perspective the event was a great success. The cadets and adults were really enthusiastic to get involved and they enjoyed the walk with Simon. I hope that the walk will have challenged their ideas about what blind people can achieve.”

Last year, Simon flew a 1940s Tiger Moth around the area together with a co-pilot as a wedding present from his wife Carol. Flying around the Ladybower Reservoir where Guy Gibson practiced low level runs over water inspired him to take this route which he calls “the Dambuster Yomp”.

Simon says: “As the terrain was quite dreadful and I underestimated the time we would need, we didn’t manage to do the entire route. I’ll be looking to complete the full walk next year but I’ll add a day or two so we can definitely complete it.”

Visitwww.blindveterans.org.uk/support to learn more about the charity and how you can support its vital work today.

To support Simon conquering the tough terrain of the Peak District together with the Army Cadets, please visitwww.justgiving.com/simonchallenge100