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Travelling Blind’s Andrew to tackle the Wolds Way

As part of his continued efforts to raise funds for Guide Dogs, a Beeford man who lost his sight two years ago is set to take on the Yorkshire Wolds Way alongside several guide walkers over 10 days later this month.

Previously we reported how, following a vascular operation, Andrew Elliker-Reeve came round with no sight, colon, working spleen, a partially collapsed lung and sepsis.

After a long recovery period, and with the help of his wife Rebecca, Andrew got back on his feet and, as well as starting a popular Facebook blog called Travelling Blind, he has completed various challenges.

This started with seven half marathons in as many days on his treadmill, walking the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats and a Blind Toast and Marmalade challenge that saw his followers attempt to toast and butter a slice of bread before adding marmalade, all whilst wearing a blindfold.

Now, Andrew is set to face what appears to be his biggest effort yet as he walks the 79-mile route of the Yorkshire Wolds Way over a 10-day period.

For most individuals, this would be a significant challenge, but Andrew can probably times it by 10.

When he starts at Hessle Foreshore on Monday 17th October, it will be the first time Andrew has done off-road walking since he lost his sight.

But with the aid of Rebecca, his guide walkers and several others along the way, he’s excited about what lies before him from Hessle to Filey.

“I don’t really know when I decided that the Yorkshire Wolds Way would be next challenge,” said Andrew.

“I’d finished the North Coast 500 and I was looking for something else for both myself and my Travelling Blind blog.

“The Yorkshire Wolds Way was something that I quite liked the sound of. It’s not far from where I live, which means we can drive there and back every day. All I needed was some guides and after I put out a plea, I received lots of offers.

“At the moment I have had eight offers, including one from someone who is prepared to do the whole route.

“I’ve also had brilliant help from Sam McGivern at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, who has set the route, provided maps and has worked really hard in general for me.

“Off-road walking is a whole new challenge for me and it’s going to be very difficult.

“Anyone who has full sight and is walking along a track can see what’s ahead and adjust their footing accordingly. I have to react. As soon as my foot hits something, do I go to my left or to my right?

“There’ll be a lot guess work and I wouldn’t be surprised if I slipped quite a lot. I’m going to be walking slow and the guide will have to constantly watch where I am treading.

“I haven’t done any off-road walking previously, so this is some challenge. Some would say it’s stupid, but I’ve got to start somewhere and if I’m going to walk one mile, I might as well walk 79.

“I’m looking forward to it and I’m not bothered in the slightest what the weather does.

“I’ll also be taking a helicopter trip over the route before I start the challenge. And the helicopter is duel-controlled – there’s no need for anyone to worry about a blind man operating a helicopter!”

Having previously raised a significant amount for Guide Dogs UK, Andrew has set a target of £5,000 this time around.

Since it was founded in 1934, Guide Dogs has helped blind and partially-sighted people across the UK through the provision of guide dogs.

Although Andrew does not require one himself, he knows the full extent of what a Guide Dog can cost.

He’s also welcoming contributions from local businesses and individuals to help him complete the walk.

“I can’t stress enough how important Guide Dogs are,” said Andrew. “I don’t have one and I don’t need one as I have Rebecca to guide me.

“But there are other people who can’t get anywhere without a dog and there are hundreds waiting for them.

“They cost a fortune to get one, then train and maintain. I want to do anything I can to help and have set a target of raising £5,000.

“Any support is appreciated and if any companies want to help, we would be grateful too.

“Rebecca will be driving around to follow me and doing over 600 miles, so if anyone wanted to contribute to the fuel bill, that would be great.”

If you would like to sponsor Andrew, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/travellingblind1, whilst you can also follow his blog at www.facebook.com/travellingblind.

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