Visually impaired Elgin man raises £1,580 for North East Sensory Services
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A VISUALLY impaired man from Elgin has raised over £1,500 for a north-east charity after completing 'The Tube Challenge' last week.
Garry Ritchie (49) visited all 272 London Undergound stops in just two days to raise money for North East Sensory Services (NESS).
He spent 13 hours traversing the busy network on day one of the challenge and 11 hours on his second day, raising £1,580 in the process.
Garry was accompanied by family friend Tracey Morris, who acted as his sighted guide for the challenge.
"I'm over the moon with what we have achieved and enjoyed taking on this challenge," Garry said.
"It was a good experience – but it was long. It was extremely difficult, but it was great when we finally finished.
"It gave me a real sense of accomplishment. It was very challenging, but that's the whole point of it.
"It just goes to show that nothing is impossible.
"I'm really pleased we managed to raise so much money. We are at over £1,800 when you include Gift Aid on people's donations.
"NESS has given me invaluable support since I was first diagnosed, and I'm glad I've been able to do this to give something back.
"We are so grateful to everyone who donated, and to Transport for London (TfL) for all the help we received while we were down.
"The staff from TfL were amazing and were always on-hand to give advice on accessibility and anything we needed on the way round."
The dad-of-one, who works as a project engineer for an oil and gas company, was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmintosa in 2013. The condition causes a loss of peripheral vision and difficulty seeing in the dark - symptoms that have been challenging for Garry.
NESS helped Garry through those challenges with emotional and practical support. That included training him in the use of a 'long cane' to help Garry maintain his independence.
Graham Findlay, chief executive of NESS, said: "Everyone at NESS is delighted for Garry and Tracey after completing The Tube Challenge.
"We're also extremely grateful for the money they have raised for our charity, which will go towards our work in supporting people with visual and hearing impairments.
"Our driving objective is to achieve independence for blind and deaf people so it's wonderful to see one of our service users taking on a challenge of this nature.
"We couldn't be happier for Garry and all that he has achieved."