Our very own 'Captain Tom' is raising money for Blind Veterans UK
In July 2019, at the age of 82, Martin Pribyl, a homeowner at Banks Place, Swindon, woke up completely blind. Devastatingly, he was told by doctors that nothing could be done to restore his vision.
This was life-changing for both Martin and his wife Mary. Martin says: “I used to do lots of things outdoors and now I’m very much restricted in that way.”
Martin lost confidence and found it harder to talk to people and join in with groups. Walking also became difficult because of the impact on his balance. Shielding during the COVID19 outbreak left his even more isolated and Kimberley Spence, House Manager at Banks Place, noticed that his mood became darker.
Kimberley wanted to help and spoke to him and Mary about the idea of a challenge. She suggested that he used exercise – in the form of walking around the ground floor of Banks Place, to make a difference to others. He thought about it and then said he would love to do it!
Following in the footsteps of Capt. Tom Moore, Martin aims to walk 100 laps of the ground floor by the end of November, unaided. That’s approximately 12 miles/19km!
He chose to support The Blind Veterans UK charity who have really helped him adapt to this new life, and is already well on the way to his £2,500 target!
The challenge has given him a much-needed morale lift and has been invaluable to his mental wellbeing and self-confidence. Kimberley says, “It is wonderful to see him walking proudly with a straight back.”
Martin, who served in the RAF at Stoke Heath, Shropshire in the 1950s, says: “Being an ex-veteran meant I qualified for assistance from Blind Veterans UK. They have enabled me to rekindle a more positive attitude and start to bring my confidence back again. I wanted to do something to give back to them because they have helped me a lot. The support from the public has been terrific.”