A visually-impaired cycling buff from Steyning is calling on members of the public to join him on a 100 mile bike ride to raise money for blind military veterans.
Dave Parsons, 49, will be tackling the Prudential Ride London to Surrey 100 for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women – despite having vision in only one eye.
A keen cyclist, Dave took part in the event last year and is calling on cyclists to sign up.
Dave said: “As a cyclist, the Prudential 100 is pretty much the best thing you can do to pursue your interest in cycling.
“There’s an absolutely incredible atmosphere and it’s through fantastic scenery as well – from the streets of London to the country roads to Surrey and back up to Buckingham Palace.
“It’s especially amazing for an old geezer like me, not feeling like you have to race the event, having all those people cheering you along and doing it for a good cause just seems like such a great combination.”
Dave said he chose to raise money for Blind Veterans UK after losing sight in his left eye during a firework accident ten years ago.
He said: “It was at a Bonfire Night party at a friend’s house. He’d done everything right, set up all the fireworks properly, but one of the rockets fell over sideways just before it set off.
“I looked up and saw it coming straight at me, but didn’t have enough time to react before it hit me.”
Dave was rushed to Worthing hospital for the first of 18 operations he would have over the next two years. Though the doctors were initially hopeful that he would keep sight in his eye, he later lost sight in it completely.
“It was at my son’s birthday party a couple of months after the accident that my eye finally went. I just felt this twanging sensation in the back of my eye and remember thinking, well that’s probably my retina gone.
“It took me a while to adjust after the accident, so I understand what sight loss can be like for a person. My father was in the RAF for twenty years, so I wanted to support a charity that helps those who have served in the military don’t have to deal with sight loss alone and Blind Veterans UK seemed like the perfect choice.”
The Prudential Ride London to Surrey 100 kicks off on Sunday 10th August and celebrates the legacy for cycling created by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.