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Could you and your friends be up for a marathon to help RNIB?
New novel features Vision Care for Homeless
Read Charity News from April to June 2020

Could you and your friends be up for a marathon to help RNIB?

July 2020

Allan Russell for RNIBEver thought about doing a marathon to raise funds for a charity but been daunted by the distance? Now sight loss charity RNIB is inviting you to double up with a partner or friend and split the distance.

Its 'Marathon Mates' challenge lets you pair up and run the distance of a marathon (26.2 miles) between the two of you during September. You can split the distance however you want. Take 13.1 miles each or find a more natural middle ground - it's up to you - and you can spread the distance out over the month. You don't have to run side by side either, you can do it in separate locations.

All money you raise will all go towards supporting blind and partially sighted people. All RNIB is asking is that you to set a target of £150 in sponsorship.

Allan Russell from Bishopton near Glasgow has signed up with guide-dog Quigley and his daughter Laura (27). Allan lost his sight in 2001 to an inherited degenerative condition called Leber's Congenital Amaurosis. He works as a producer-presenter for RNIB's multi award-winning Connect Radio station based in Partick, Europe's first station run by and for people with sight loss.

"We've all been working from home during the lockdown period," Allan says. "I haven't done much running since I was in the high school athletics team, competing around Scotland.

"I will be pounding the streets around Dargavel Village, where I live, beside Bishopton. I have a route I've planned with a circuit that's two miles. My daughter Laura will run in Renfrew, where she lives, and we will keep in touch via our Smart phones. We're going to do 13.1 miles each, probably two or four miles a day, depending on work and the weather. But if we get through it quickly, we may go for the 26.2 miles in one go.

"Quigley, my guide-dog, turned five in May. If we do more than two miles a day, I'll need to make sure his paws are ok, as the ground can be quite rough in parts and he's never guided for that kind of constant distance. This can be very mentally tiring for him.

"I'm still wondering why I chose to do it with no sighted guiding in a busy area, and in September when, let's face it, the Scottish weather may be a little harsh. I am actually looking forward to it though.

"With Covid-19 hitting the charity sector hard, it's more important than ever to try to support their great work and I can't encourage others at such a difficult time without actually stepping up to the plate.

"RNIB was there for me when I lost my sight and helped me regain my IT skills and get my mojo back. And through their volunteering scheme, I found employment again. I know, first hand, what a positive and tangible difference RNIB makes to the lives of blind and partially sighted people. It's vital we all do what we can to help the charity weather the coronavirus storm, to be there when people need them, and to show that sight loss is not the end of the road."

James Adams, director of RNIB Scotland, said: "Marathon Mates is open to every kind of pair, whether you team up with an old running buddy, a guide-runner if you have sight loss yourself, or a partner who hasn't worn trainers since the 90s.

"You can support each other through every mile and every penny you raise towards your joint £150 sponsorship target. Whether you run side-by-side or as a virtual pair, you’ve got each other’s back.

"Like almost every charity, RNIB's usual fundraising events have had to be constrained or even cancelled outright during the current situation. So we want to find ways to help those who support us to take part in something that's fun, worthwhile, and not too onerous.

"Marathon Mates is a great way to keep fit with a partner or friend and raise funds to help blind and partially sighted people, many of whom have struggled in recent months with isolation, social distancing, and access to information and shopping."

* To take part in Marathon Mates, sign up here [] To sponsor Allan, you can donate to his Just Giving page

New novel features Vision Care for Homeless

July 2020

Paige Toon

Staring into the eyes of strangers is the leading thread in popular Australian/British author, Paige Toon’s latest book “The Minute I Saw You”.

Hannah, the main character, is a Cambridge-based optician who falls for a photographer. The twists and turns of the story include the challenges of homelessness and a plot thread which is centred around a girl with peripheral vision problems who walks out into the path of a cyclist.

Vision Care for Homeless People features, which is a wonderful boost for the charity, as Paige explained.

“I always try to mention real organisations in my books. Much of the story is about the connections which people make through eyes and includes an inspired photographic exhibition of homeless people’s eyes, shot in macro, with their stories minutely written around the edges of the iris.”

The paperback version is out on 6 August, although advance Australian published copies are available via an auction which raises funds for VCHP and other homeless charities at

The Minute I saw You

Instagram/Facebook/Twitter@PaigeToon author

Elaine Styles, Chair of VCHP, said, "To have our charity highlighted in such an inspired way is truly fantastic. We hope that it will lead people who are not yet supporters to join us in reaching more homeless people, and for them to gain a better view of the world.”

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