AN ARMY reservist will be showing his support for veterans who have lost their sight while protecting their country.
Luke Barker, 30 from Gosport, will be taking on a 100km walk for Blind Veterans UK – a national charity that supports ex-servicemen and women suffering with vision impairments.
Luke, who joined the Army Reserve in 2011, serves in the Royal Artillery and is an active member in the force.
His day job sees him working on the supply and maintenance of Apache and Merlin aircraft engines for the Ministry of Defence.
He took part in the event last year and will walk from London to Brighton later this year.
The route will take participants from Hammersmith in west London to the North Downs, through a number of villages in Sussex and finally through the South Downs.
Luke said: ‘For me it was a fantastic opportunity to give something back to the veterans of this country who are living with sight loss.
‘As a serving army reservist, it’s a cause that’s a close to my heart.
‘Don’t get me wrong, I was in a lot of pain.
‘But to put things into perspective, at the beginning of the race we were fortunate enough to listen to a briefing from a blind veteran called Shaun.
‘As well as having no sight, Shaun is a double-amputee, having been hit by an improvised explosive device while on tour in Afghanistan at the age of just 19.
‘Yet despite everything he’s been through, when you listen to the positivity with which he speaks, and the sporting achievements he’s been able to accomplish on his prosthetics, you find yourself in awe and incredibly motivated.
‘If Shaun can go through so much, having given so much, then you can be sure I’m going to endure a 22-hour walk.’
Luke says that he is looking forward to the event, which will start on July 7.
He said: ‘I absolutely cannot wait.
‘After the last one, I couldn’t walk properly for two weeks. I’d sprained my big toe and suffered a hairline fracture on my shin.
‘But make no mistake, had I been injury free, I’d have done it all over again the very next morning.
‘The sense of achievement is like nothing else, and the opportunity to meet the very veterans you’re raising money for is incredibly moving.’
To support Luke in the 100km event, go to justgiving.com/lukebarker-gosport.