Best Foot Forward - The Directory Group

Best foot forward

A Royal Navy Warrant Officer from Denmead is embarking on a charity challenge in support of his best friend.

Neil Cassidy will be joining Gareth Davies from Cardiff on a 100km walk this July for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

Gareth was inspired to take on the challenge after meeting a veteran supported by the charity.

He rallied Neil, who he has known since primary school, to join him on the London to Brighton walk, as part of a seven-strong team.

Gareth suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary condition which slowly causes sight loss. He is registered blind and only has 10% vision left, which is reducing still. Gareth has a guide dog and went for training in Wales for three weeks, where he met the veteran who inspired his own challenge.

Neil explained: “Gareth has taken up quite a few challenges recently and when he asked me about the Blind Veterans UK 100k I was happy to get involved. I’m excited to be doing this challenge with my friend and focus on getting more active.”

Neil is a Warrant Officer class I, which is the highest rank for a non-commissioned officer in the Royal Navy, and is passionate about supporting the military charity.

He added: “I was aware of Blind Veterans UK but under their previous name St Dunstan’s. It is great to be able to support ex-members of the Armed Forces by challenging myself.”

The London to Brighton 100k challenge is Blind Veterans UK’s biggest annual fundraiser and takes participants from a starting point in south west London, along the banks of the Thames, through countryside paths in Surrey, Sussex and the North and South Downs to the charity's centre in Ovingdean, Brighton.

To support Gareth, Neil and the team as they take on the 100k for Blind Veterans UK, visit

To sign up for the Blind Veterans UK 100k, go to

The Directory Group covers the following areas within Hampshire and West Sussex: Petersfield, Clanfield, Hayling Island, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Denmead, Purbrook, Widley, Farlington, Cosham, Drayton, Havant, Rowlands Castle, Emsworth, Southbourne, Westbourne, Bosham, Portsmouth, Alton, Alresford, Bentley, Four Marks and Meon Valley