A BLIND Royal Navy veteran has reached the finals of an international competition.
Penny Melville-Brown, from Fareham, has been selected as one of the 11 finalists from more than 200 entrants to the Holman Prize.
Three winners will be awarded $25,000 each to achieve their ambitions.
Penny’s goal is to cook across six continents with her online baking project, Baking Blind.
She said: ‘This all started from a very simple idea I had last year as a way of showing that we can still have great capabilities, ambitions and fun even with blindness or other disabilities.
‘Being invited to enter the Holman Prize was a great boost for me in creating a YouTube channel and website.
‘All the entrants sent in short video clips and the semi-finalists produced more detailed project plans and budgets.
‘If I’m lucky enough to win, I’ll be cooking in America, Costa Rica, Australia, China and Malawi with professional and home-cooks, sighted or not.’
Penny left the navy in 1999, having reached the rank of commander.
She maintains she’s aiming for more than just the travel by entering the competition.
‘The adventure will give me enough material to produce a year of videos and blogs, plus a recipe book’, said Penny.
‘Most importantly, it will be a launch pad to change minds about life with an impairment in all those countries and, perhaps, even further afield.
‘I’ve been wildly ambitious – it just wouldn’t be possible without the prize.’
The competition commemorates James Holman who, like Penny, lost his sight while serving in the Royal Navy.
Despite this, he went on to travel the globe solo in the early 19th century, as celebrated in A Sense of the World, a biography written about his achievements.
Over the next month, all the finalists’ proposals will be considered and the winner is announced in early July.
For more information go to blindveterans.org.uk. Follow Penny on bakingblind.com.