FALKLANDS VETERAN TO MOTORCYCLE 340 MILES FOR RIDE TO LIFE BEYOND SIGHT LOSS
May 1 2014.
A veteran of the Falklands War from Seaford is set to motorcycle over 300 miles to raise money for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
Eon Matthews, 55, will be tackling Blind Veterans UK’s first ever motorcycling event, Ride for Life Beyond Sight Loss, a 340-mile ride from Llandudno, North Wales, to Brighton.
Eon served in the Royal Navy for over 20 years, during which time he served in the Falklands and sailed the last British military vessel out of Hong Kong after the territory was transferred to the Chinese.
Eon also served in the Falklands War and was onboard HMS Glamorgan during the Battle of Two Sisters, one of the final battles of the conflict. During the battle, the Glamorgan sustained a direct hit from a land-based Exocet missile, which killed 14 British personnel.
Eon says: “I remember that day really vividly. I was in the ops room when the missile was fired and I could see it coming towards us. We were about 12 miles from land, but the missile hit us within eight seconds of being fired.
“After something like that, your first reaction is to pat your body down, make sure it’s OK and you’re all in one piece and then the training kicks in. The ship had started to turn over and there were fires all over the place, so we had to spring into action immediately.”
A keen motorcyclist, Eon is working with Blind Veterans UK to organise the event: “There’s a huge ex-Forces community in motorcycling, primarily because there is this huge sense of camaraderie in both. I wanted to work with Blind Veterans UK to give bikers a chance to take part in a great rally and raise money to support those who have served our country.
“I toured the charity’s Brighton centre, as other Falklands veterans are members of the charity. I was amazed at the great work Blind Veterans UK do – it was a real eye-opener.
“Blind Veterans UK is a charity that is there for me and my former colleagues if we ever lose our sight, so I want to make sure I’m there for them.”
Ride for Life Beyond Sight Loss is a 340-mile motorcycling ride to raise money for blind and vision-impaired military veterans. The event takes participants through the stunning Welsh countryside, before dropping down into Wiltshire, the South Downs National Park and ending on the dramatic East Sussex coast.
Places for Ride for Life Beyond Sight Loss are currently available for a registration fee of £15 per rider. The event kicks off in Llandudno, North Wales, on Saturday 26th July and ends with live music and a hog roast or vegetarian dinner at Blind Veterans UK’s centre in Brighton later that evening.
Don’t want to ride alone? A second participant can ride pillion for an extra £15 registration fee. Unable to do the whole journey? Riders can join the team at one of the stop-points at Llandrindod Wells, Swindon or Petersfield.
Blind Veterans UK, formerly St Dunstan’s, is the national charity for blind ex-Service men and women, which provides support, rehabilitation and training to blind veterans, regardless of when they served or how they lost their sight. In addition to this, the charity also manages the Diana Gubbay Trust which helps support men and women who have served in the emergency services and suffered severe sight loss whilst on duty. For more information go to www.blindveterans.org.uk
To sign up for Ride for Life Beyond Sight Loss and read about Blind Veterans UK’s work, go to www.blindveterans.org.uk/bikeride or call Rachel Chitty on 01273 391455.