Bosham marine proud to guide blind soldier on mega trek

Colonel Mike Brooke OBE  from Bosham, will guide blind soldier Paul Jacobs for 25km of his charity trek. Pictured together on their first training session
Colonel Mike Brooke OBE from Bosham, will guide blind soldier Paul Jacobs for 25km of his charity trek. Pictured together on their first training session

A former Royal Marine from Bosham will help a blind war hero complete a 100km challenge to raise funds for other injured soldiers.

Colonel Mike Brooke OBE, 68, will guide rifleman Paul Jacobs on Blind Veterans UK’s inaugural challenge over the Yorkshire Dales, with the aim to raise £10,000 for the charity.

Paul and Mike together

Paul and Mike together

Paul, 26, was blinded whilst on operations in Afghanistan and received the the George Medal for exceptional valour on the battlefield.

Mike will be walking as a guide for Paul for 25km of the route, overnight on June 18 and 19.

Mike, who has 36 years of military service in the Royal Marines & Royal Engineers himself, said: “This means everything to me, because one of my soldiers was blinded in the latter stages of the first Gulf War in 1991.

“He went through the rehabilitation process at Blind Veterans UK which convinced him that there was a life after sight loss.

“Now, it’s my turn to help Paul who so desperately wants to help others.”

Hero Paul has completed an astonishing amount of challenges for charity, and his latest trek will be alongside a team of other walkers entitled ‘Paul’s People’.

Paul said: “I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro, completed a few marathons and triathlons, done a 1,700 mile bike tour of America and already walked the London to Brighton 100k challenge for Blind Veterans UK.

“So the new Northern route seemed like the next obvious challenge! I might have been injured, but I’m still a soldier and this is my way of making my life count and helping others. You don’t need to have sight to have vision.”

Mike’s own initial military career in the Royal Marines was also cut short after he contracted a rare eye disease in the Far East that left him with impaired vision in his left eye.

Luckily, he was able to transfer into the Army and finally retired from the Royal Engineers in 2003 after a 36-year career of service.

Mike is currently president of the Royal Engineers Association (Bomb Disposal Branch) and was awarded an OBE in the 1991 New Year Honours list.

The team of walkers has set up a GoFundMe campaign gofundme.com/paulspeople with a £10,000 target.

Kelsea Little, spokesperson for GoFundMe.com, added: ”We are very happy to be able to provide a platform that can help inspiring people like Mike and Paul raise funds for causes they care about. We wish the whole team all the best with the 100km walk and hope they reach their goal quickly.”

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