Cadet walk for blind soldiers

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CADETS in South Tyneside took on a gruelling challenge to help blind servicemen and women, including British soldiers who have lost their sight serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Members of the Sunderland and Hebburn Royal Marine and Sea Cadets – based at the TS Kelly unit headquarters, in Prince Consort Road, Hebburn – took part in a sponsored walk with a difference to boost St Dunstan’s, which helps service personnel blinded while serving their country.

The charity has centres in Sheffield and Brighton and it is planning a third one in Llandudno in north Wales.

St Dunstan’s already helps more than 3,000 ex-forces personnel, and is currently accepting into the charity young soldiers who have been blinded in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Hebburn-based cadets took part in the 14-mile St Dunstan’s Cadet and Youth Challenge Competition last month.

Cadets raised money by trekking through Chopwell Wood, near Rowlands Gill, Gateshead.

Colin Williamson, from Hebburn, who is the National Cadet and Youth Challenge project officer for St Dunstan’s, said: “The cadets were brilliant.

“It wasn’t an easy walk as there were a few inclines to tackle, but they took it all in their stride.

“They are a credit to the cadet force and to the community.

“The funds that they raised as a result of the walk will go to providing training and support to those who need it most and who have given so much for their country.”

Established in 1915, St Dunstan’s is a national charity.

It provides lifelong bespoke rehabilitation and training to blinded serving and ex-service personnel.

The charity helps soldiers carry on with their lives beyond their blindness.