IT WILL be far from plain sailing but a South Tyneside Navy man is saddling up for a gruelling challenge to boost a vital forces’ charity.
Royal Navy sailor Chris O’Doherty is swapping his sea legs for two wheels, to take part in the 112-mile Fred Whitton cycling challenge in the Lake District on Sunday.
According to some, this is the hardest one-day cycling ride in the UK, but I’m happy to take it on and show my support to Blind Veterans UK, after all the help they’ve given my uncle.Chris O’Doherty, charity cyclist
The 33-year-old, from Hebburn, is gearing up for the ambitious bid in aid of Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for visually-impaired ex-servicemen and women.
Mr O’Doherty signed up to thank the charity for the support they have offered his uncle, Colin Williamson, who served in the Army for five years.
Mr Williamson was the victim of an unprovoked street attack in 1992, which gradually caused him to lose his sight.
He was registered blind in 2002, and has received help and support from Blind Veterans UK since 2003.
Chris won’t be going it alone on the fundraising trail – a group of pals will be joining him on the energy-sapping voyage.
He said: “My friends and I were looking for a cycling event to take part in and we came across the Fred Whitton challenge.
“It’ll be very scenic, but also a very tough cycling test.”
The Fred Whitton challenge consists of 112-mile cycle around the Lake District in a single day.
The cycle starts and finishes at Grasmere and takes cyclists on climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands and Hardknott.
Chris added: “According to some, this is the hardest one-day cycling ride in the UK, but I’m happy to take it on and show my support to Blind Veterans UK, after all the help they’ve given my uncle.
“I’ve seen firsthand what Blind Veterans UK does for my uncle and he has told me of the great things the charity does for vision-impaired veterans.
“It made it an easy decision to fundraise for them.”
To sponsor Chris as he takes on the gruelling Fred Whitton challenge, visit www.justgiving.com/Chris-O-Doherty1